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National Building Museum presents Evicted, an exhibition based on Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer prize-winning book

Categories: Press

Immersive exhibition will explore chronic eviction with new interviews, data, and photography

August 2013, Milwaukee, WI, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy and a grandmother are having a discussion in front of an apartment she and her daughter and the daughter’s children had just been evicted from. In the background are family members with boxed belongings which have been removed from the premises. Photograph by Michael Kienitz.

Press preview for Evicted, a new exhibition based on Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book

Matthew Desmond
, author, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City; professor of sociology, Princeton University
Sarah A. Leavitt, curator, National Building Museum

Friday, April 13 at 10 am

This event is for members of the media. RSVP to Emma Filar,

National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, DC 2001

This spring, the National Building Museum will open Evicted, an immersive new exhibition based on Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer prize-winning book. Using new data developed by Desmond’s Eviction Lab, Evicted examines the reasons for and fallout from the more than 2.4 million American evictions each year. The exhibition brings visitors to the intimate, frustrating, painful, and often repeated process of losing everything—furniture, food, heat, school supplies—as a family starts all over, over and over again. Evicted opens April 14, 2018 and runs through May 19, 2019.

Evictions used to be rare. Only in the last 30 years have they become more prevalent, with African American women and children often hit the hardest. Incomes for poor, renting families have remained stagnant, while housing costs soar higher than ever. The federal government does not fill this gap. In fact, 70% of qualified families do not receive federal housing aid, and low-income families face a shortage of affordable housing in almost every single county in the country.

Eviction is not just about the loss of private space and possessions. It often leads to a spiral of hard times, affecting everything from physical and mental health, to job performance and school stability. Visitors will witness this cycle through original audio interviews and photography of a specific family facing chronic eviction, charting their journey through the housing search and court system.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, focused on eight families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin facing chronic eviction. Their stories are emblematic of a national crisis. The Evicted exhibition will expand the narrative of low-income renters. Large scale infographics will further illuminate the crisis. The Museum will also highlight ways that some local and state governments and nonprofits are intervening to upend the cycle of chronic evictions, such as Right to Counsel laws and new affordable housing projects. Visitors will be armed with ideas for ways they can enact change in their jurisdictions, and help alleviate the downward spiral for those already living on the economic edge.

A small selection of images is available at Contact Emma Filar for more information.

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