museums

Exhibition Spotlight: Americans

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Americans is a new, long term exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian. I was floored by this exhibition. In a good way! It's on my must-see list for Washington, DC museum-goers for this summer.

Americans features 300 objects, still images, moving image clips, and historical artifacts across a 9,000 square foot gallery. There are interactive digital touch tables and a reflection room with excellent questions to get you thinking and writing. In addition to the images and objects, three mini-galleries trace the long lasting impacts of the legacy of Pocahontas, our changing memories regarding Battle of Little Bighorn, and the implementation of Indian Removal Act.

The exhibition highlights the ways in which American Indians, and specifically Indian imagery have been part of our national identity from 1600s until the present. Some of the images are difficult to look at, some complex, some took me by surprise, and some were very familiar.

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From vehicle names, to fashion, to machines of war, to sports, we've co-opted American Indian imagery for commercial, political, and propagandic purposes, sometimes in prejudicial, careless, or harmful ways. Other images were seemingly benign or sought to honor or pay homage. Seeing it all presented here in mostly a matter-of-fact manner was affecting and educational. I was moved and reflective after the experience.

Americans is located on the 3rd floor of the National Museum of the American Indian (4th St and Independence Ave SW). It will be on display until the year 2022.

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Learn more:

Americans exhibition interactive website (FYI - has sound).
National Museum of the American Indian official website.
The Invention of Thanksgiving short film/video (featured in the exhibition).
Exhibition review by the Washington Post.
 

Exhibition Spotlight: City of Hope

  Model of Resurrection City

Model of Resurrection City

This is the first in a series of posts marking 50 years since 1968. For the District of Columbia, many other cities & towns --and indeed the nation-- 1968 marks a significant moment of truth; a crucial year in our history that helped shape the half century of American life after it.

Fortunately, DC has several museums and cultural institutions up to the task of offering thoughtful interpretation and reflection on events of that year.

City of Hope: Resurrection City & the 1968 Poor People's Campaign is a new exhibition by the National Museum of African American History and Culture and hosted at the National Museum of American History. The exhibition focuses on the extraordinary execution of a community space created in Washington, DC. The community was part of the Poor People's Campaign, a highly organized, multifaceted campaign to fulfill Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of ending poverty in America.

The exhibition follows a time linear narrative with four main sections starting with President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty," and ending with first person oral history-filled video kiosk exploring the impact of Resurrection City and the Poor People's campaign.  In the intermediate sections we're presented with photographs, music, videos, paper ephemera, built structures, and other artifacts specific to Resurrection City. The exhibition looks at the motivations for building the city, underlying ideals of the larger campagh, the actual layout and other built environment details, and  on valuable insight into daily life in the community.

This is a just deep enough dive into a three month stretch that will open your eyes on 1968. It wasn't just about assassinations and riots. It was about everything after.

City of Hope: Resurrection City & the 1968 Poor People's Campaign is on display indefinitely at the National Museum of American History. Level 2, East Wing. 1300 Constitution Ave NW.

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The Nation We Build Together

The National Museum of American History recently debuted the newly renovated second floor wing, titled The Nation We Build Together. The exhibitions within tell a nuanced story about how foundational American ideals have transformed over 300 years. The exhibitions are deep, artifact rich, and current. The interactive elements are excellent at testing your knowledge of government and political systems, while challenging you to examine your own views.

We can incorporate the best of these exhibitions into a Discover DC tour and pair the experience with site visits to Capitol Hill, the White House, or presidential memorials. Call us (202-681-0046) to schedule an exciting and educational tour.  We leverage the best of DC and help you maximize your time here in the city. Learn more and book here.

Meanwhile, get inspired by these photos from The Nation We Build Together!

 Who gets to vote? How do we manage voting methods state to state and county to county? The exhibition  American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith  touches on these questions and more, while illustrating how important political agency is to shaping American society.

Who gets to vote? How do we manage voting methods state to state and county to county? The exhibition American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith touches on these questions and more, while illustrating how important political agency is to shaping American society.

 When the United States of America began, only a small subset of land owning white men could vote. We've opened the door to more and more people over time, but the work isn't finished. The exhibition explores voting expansion over time on the federal, state, and local levels.

When the United States of America began, only a small subset of land owning white men could vote. We've opened the door to more and more people over time, but the work isn't finished. The exhibition explores voting expansion over time on the federal, state, and local levels.

  Many Voices, One Nation  explores what it means it means to "be American," including how complex issues like immigration, assimilation, multiculturalism, and community intersect.

Many Voices, One Nation explores what it means it means to "be American," including how complex issues like immigration, assimilation, multiculturalism, and community intersect.

 With no limited representation in the House and none in the Senate, residents of Washington, DC face a voting predicament unlike all other American citizens.

With no limited representation in the House and none in the Senate, residents of Washington, DC face a voting predicament unlike all other American citizens.

 Campaign ephemera from recent elections and beyond.

Campaign ephemera from recent elections and beyond.

 Petition and protest are American traditions, are protected by law, and come in many forms.

Petition and protest are American traditions, are protected by law, and come in many forms.