anacostia community museum

Anacostia Community Museum Reopens Its Doors

The museum aims to elevate often untold or overlooked stories and history from diverse communities in the D.C. region

NBC Universal, Inc.

After being closed for most of the pandemic, the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum reopened Wednesday.

The museum first opened at its original location at the old Carver Theater in 1967 with a mission to reach out to the local African American community. Today, the museum maintains a rich history of community advocacy and progress. Its features several collections on music and sports, and virtual exhibits.

"One of the things I really love about this museum is our community focus. That really is what makes us different from our colleagues on the mall," said Melanie Adams, the museum's director. "We're really telling the stories of the people in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia."

The current exhibit, "Food for the People: Eating and Activism in Greater Washington," explores food inequality by examining food systems across the region. Adams explained the museum tries to tell untold stories from our history.

"One of the things that a lot of people don't realize, the breakfast programs that we see in today's schools was really started by the Black Panthers in the 1960s," Adams said.

There's also the story of Vivian Williams, a D.C. mother who led a boycott of Safeway grocery stores in 1967. Williams figured out the grocery store raised prices on days when people would receive benefit checks, Adams added.

"It's a great example for people to see it's regular people really doing extraordinary things to make change," Adams said.

As the smallest Smithsonian, the museum closes for several weeks after an exhibit closes to prepare for and install the next exhibit.

The museum, which is free to visit, is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations are not required and free parking is available.

For more information about the museum, visit its website here.

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