WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum has preserved the history and culture of Washington, D.C.’s local community for more than 50 years.
The museum reopened one month ago after undergoing a $4.5 million renovation to its interior and exterior.
The upgrades include a redesigned exterior landscape with local plants, a teaching installation on Anacostia Watershed history and a vegetable garden.
"The area that I’m most excited about really is the patio, because I think that really provides us with so much wonderful outdoor program space," Melanie Adams, director of the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, said.
Adams said there are plans to host outdoor events in the spring, such as music programs or movies.
In addition to add-ons to its "A Right to the City" exhibit, the museum added a new installation created by nine home-schooled students offering their responses to gentrification.
Adams said the museum is focused on giving the community a place to share its stories – the successes and the challenges.
"I think one of the ways that we really like to phrase that is that we’re able to show people that these challenges have been happening throughout history, and how have people responded to these challenges," Adams said. "Whether its issues related to gentrification, educational inequality, food insecurity – these are not new unfortunately."
The museum offers people living in urban communities, like the District, a space to find solutions to their problems by looking at how others addressed similar issues in history.
"We are talking about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, because it’s really important for the community to see stories of success, stories of struggle, stories of triumph that really show that they are not the first community to go through this particular issue," Adams said. "How did the people before them do that? They were ordinary people and they really were able to make extraordinary change."
The museum is located at 1901 Fort Place Southeast and is open between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.