Investigating Where We Live
Created by the National Building Museum in 1996, Investigating Where We Live brings together middle school and high school students from across the D.C. metropolitan area. The program provides them with a forum where they can express their views of Washington, D.C. Participants learn to use photography, creative writing, and exhibition design as a means of understanding D.C. and describing how the city’s buildings, neighborhoods, and culture change over time. As the culmination of the program, participants plan, design, and install a museum exhibition that features their insights and work.
Investigating Where We Live meets for 15 sessions over five weeks in the summer from 9 am to 2:30 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Up to 35 participants are selected each summer. The exhibition planned and produced by the students is on display for up to eleven months. This year's exhibition, Investigating Where We Live: Recapturing Shaw's Legacy, explores this historic neighborhood and explores what the past has to do with the future. It will be on display until June 8, 2014.
In Investigating Where We Live, participants will:
- Develop photography, writing, and design skills
- Define neighborhoods and examine what influences their appearances
- Learn neighborhood histories
- Collaborate with peers and staff as part of a team
- Create a museum exhibition
In addition to developing these skills, Investigating Where We Live students enjoy a number of other benefits. In return for their commitment to the program, participants:
- Receive a digital camera
- Develop relationships with professional photographers, designers, museum staff, and fellow participants
- Keep photographs for use in future projects, portfolios, or high school and college applications
- Fulfill community service requirements for school
How does the program work?
At the beginning of the program, participants are given an overview of photography before being assigned to three teams. Next, in a series of site visits, teams investigate neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. Documenting its landmarks, major thoroughfares, and commercial and residential areas through digital photographs and writings, students work to gather information about the community’s history and identity. Participants spend the rest of the summer assembling this information to create a museum exhibition of their own design. This exhibition, which is displayed in one of the Museum’s galleries, showcases student photographs, poems, and narratives, and offers their fresh interpretations of the unique character of the city’s communities.
The application for the 2014 session will be avialable in March.
Please contact email@example.com if you have questions, or if you would like to be placed on our mailing list to receive updates.
The Museum seeks professionals and college or graduate students in the fields of photography, design, architecture, urban planning, creative writing, and education to share their expertise with our participants. Volunteers may receive college credits or professional development points for their time. Click here to learn more about volunteering at the Museum. Volunteers for teen programs must be 18 years of age or older.
Students or recent graduates who are interested in a greater commitment to Investigating Where We Live are invited to apply for an intern position in the outreach department. Interns act as volunteer instructors and assist with the administration of the program. Click here to learn more about internships at the Museum.
Investigating Where We Live is generously supported by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Hattie M. Strong Foundation, Clark Charitable Foundation, The Tower Companies, and an anonymous donor. Additional support for teen outreach programs is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; MARPAT Foundation, Inc.; Teknion; Forest City Washington; McGraw Hill Financial; and Prince Charitable Trusts. Geppetto Catering, Inc. is the official Meal Provider for Teen Outreach Programs at the National Building Museum.