The Anacostia Community Museum is a part of the Smithsonian Institution and offers exhibitions, educational programs, workshops, lectures, film screenings and other special events interpreting black history from the 1800s to the present. The museum documents and interprets the impact of social and cultural issues on contemporary urban communities.
The facility opened in 1967 in a converted movie theater in Southeast Washington DC as the nation’s first federally funded neighborhood museum.
In 1987, the museum changed its name from the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum to the Anacostia Museum to reflect an increased mandate to examine, preserve, and interpret African American history and culture, not only locally and regionally, but nationally and internationally as well.
Anacostia Community Museum Exhibits
Approximately 6,000 objects are on display dating to the early 1800s, including works of art, archaeological materials, textiles, furniture, photographs, audio tapes, videos and musical instruments. The collection highlights African American religion and spirituality, African American performance, African American quilts, African American family and community life in Washington, DC and other regions, African American photography and contemporary popular culture. The museum’s expanded emphasis on contemporary urban social and cultural issues guides the development and presentation of exhibitions with themes that explore issues such as women’s economic sufficiency, urban waterways, immigration and urban community development.
The museum library has 5,000 volumes with newly expanded capacity for 10,000. Archives include historically important publications, research files for museum exhibitions, and a large collection of photographic images reflecting Washington’s black community life in the 1970s and 1980s.
Educational and Public Programming
The museum presents more than 100 public programs each year including workshops, films, concerts, lectures, demonstrations, and panel discussions.
Guided tours are available by request for families, community organizations, school groups, and other groups. The Museum Academy Program is a special educational program that includes an after-school and summer program for elementary school students and a career awareness day for middle school students.
Anacostia Community Museum Essentials
Address: 1901 Fort Place SE, Washington, DC. To reach the museum by public transportation, take Metrorail to the Anacostia Metro Station, take the LOCAL exit and then transfer to the W2/W3 Metrobus stop on Howard Road. There is limited free parking on site. Street parking is also available.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except December 25.
The Anacostia Community Museum is located in a historic Washington DC neighborhood located east of the Anacostia River. Most of the buildings are private residences and the community is primarily African American. Many redevelopment projects are underway in the area to revitalize the region. Read more about Anacostia.