National Building Museum presents Community Policing in the Nation’s Capital

Categories: Articles, Press

Press event on Tuesday, April 3, at 10 am

Press event for Community Policing in the Nation’s Capital: The Pilot District Project, 1968-1973

Sarah A. Leavitt, curator, National Building Museum
Anne McDonough, library and collections director for the Historical Society of Washington D.C.
Amber N. Wiley. Ph.D., assistant professor of American Studies at Skidmore College

Tuesday, April 3, 10 am
RSVP to Emma Filar at

National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
Red Line Metro: Judiciary Square

Beginning March 31, the National Building Museum and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. present Community Policing in the Nation’s Capital: The Pilot District Project, 1968-1973. Through original documents, maps, posters, and other materials—all on display for the first time—the exhibition tells the story of an innovative experiment in community policing and commemorates the 50th anniversary of 1968, a seminal year in the nation’s history.

The exhibition examines the climate of the city in 1968, especially in the aftermath of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the tensions that arose between white police and the African american citizenry. The Pilot District Project (PDP) launched in the summer of 1968 in what is now most of Ward 1 with broad goals for police reform and citizen participation. Although largely deemed a failure at the time, the project enacted several important innovations during its five-year run that are valued today, including 24-hour police stations, citizen ride-alongs, and police sensitivity training.

The exhibition introduces visitors to this compelling and timely story of urban policing, community participation and resilience, federal intervention, activism, and a program with good intentions that perhaps was never up to its herculean task. Community Policing in the Nation’s Capital is open through January 15, 2019.

Hi-res scans of selected documents are available at

The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the history and impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, and design is important for all ages. Through exhibitions and educational programs, we show how the built world has power to shape our lives, communities, and futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., is a community-supported educational and research organization that collects, interprets, and shares the history of our nation’s capital. Founded in 1894, the Historical Society serves a diverse audience through its collections, public programs, exhibitions, and publications. the historical Society’s research library is located at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, while its home, the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, is undergoing restoration. To support exhibitions and related programming at the Historical Society and to learn more, visit