Teens Investigate the Legacy of 1968

Categories: Press

Award-winning Investigating Where We Live exhibition opens August 11

Photo: Participants worked with Amanda Burnham to explore how using the collage technique on a large scale can connect different places and ideas into one cohesive work. Photo by Museum staff.

Exhibition opening for Investigating Where We Live

Lauren Wilson, education program manager, National Building Museum
Teens in the Investigating Where We Live program

Saturday, August 11, 1–3 pm

Exhibition is open to the public 10 am–5 pm

RSVP to Emma Filar at efilar@nbm.org.

National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
First floor galleries

Thirty local teens, in collaboration with Museum professionals, photographers, artists, and historians, used photography, writing, artwork, and interviews to examine the legacy of 1968, fifty years later. A seminal year in the nation’s history, teens analyzed the year with a hyperlocal focus, and the hopes of gaining perspective on what it was like to be a teenager in Washington, D.C. in 1968 and make connections to their own experiences living in and around the district in 2018.

During the five week program, participants:

  • Visited the former home of the WOOK-TV station, which broadcasted Teenarama Dance Party from 1963-70, the city’s first black teen dance show; also interviewed performers about their time on the program
  • Collaborated on artworks with teaching artists Amanda Burnham and Omolara Williams McCallister to learn how to make big ideas tangible
  • Contextualized D.C. in 1968 by learning about the D.C. 1968 project with Marya Annette McQuirter, PhD, and visiting the A Right to the City exhibition with curator Samir Meghelli at the Anacostia Community Museum
  • Attended tours of the Chinatown, H Street NE, and Shaw/U Street NW neighborhoods with Attucks Adams and staff from the 1882 Foundation and Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, to better understand what happened in those areas after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how those events relate to the those neighborhoods today
  • Interviewed people who were teens in D.C. in 1968 about their experiences
  • Visited the Latin American Youth Center, which opened in 1968, to learn about how they currently serve youth 50 years later

As the culmination, the participants planned, designed, and fabricated an exhibition to communicate their experiences and viewpoints. The exhibition is expected to be seen by tens of thousands of visitors to the National Building Museum during its run.

Investigating Where We Live has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. IWWL is also generously supported by the Clark Education Fund; the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Humanities DC; the Herbert M. Franklin Teen Programs Fund; Sandy Rynd Chaleski; and an anonymous donor. Geppetto Catering Inc., is the official meal provider for educational programs at the National Building Museum.

Created in 1996, the National Building Museum’s Investigating Where We Live is a five-week summer program in which students interpret Washington, D.C. neighborhoods through photography, creative writing, and original artwork. Each summer, approximately 30 students spend their Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays exploring neighborhoods and developing an exhibition to be on view at the Museum. In 2013 Investigating Where We Live was a recipient of the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award, given by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

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 www.nbm.org. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.