January 7 – February 26, 2016

DISTRICT explores D.C. during the 1960s and 1970s through the extraordinary eye of photographer Chris Earnshaw. These images – captured originally as Polaroid prints and nearly lost to time and neglect – reflect the demolition, desperation, beauty, and energy in the every-day of the capital city of the era. DISTRICT is presented by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., in partnership with artist and archivist Joseph Mills.

121 - Loew's Palace in Her Prime, 1965

Earnshaw, whose work is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others, is, says Mills, “one of the finest photographers I have ever had the pleasure and privilege of knowing. He is able to speak in depth of the great architects of his time and place, as well as of the details on the building and the destruction he witnessed of their beautiful works. Whether turned toward a building being wrecked, or a soul being lost, Earnshaw knew instinctively not to interfere with the camera’s ability to see clearly.”

DISTRICT will be on display in the Historical Society’s rotating gallery space on the second floor of the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, 801 K Street NW, Washington, D.C. Following the evening opening reception on Wednesday January 6, 2016, exhibition hours will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with additional viewings on Saturday January 30 and Saturday February 20. The exhibition closed February 26, 2016.

Press mentions include:

Polaroids of the Cowboy Poet,” Washington Post

He stored his photos in boxes and bags for decades — until one man saw their genius,” Washington Post

Chris Earnshaw’s ‘District’ Time Capsule,” Washington City Paper

District at Historical Society of Washington, D.C.,” Washington City Paper

D.C. History Via Polaroids,” The Georgetowner

Preserving D.C.’s Past,” MidCity D.C.


645 - Madonnas of F Street

Exhibit Programming

Wednesday January 6, 6-9 pm. Exhibition opening and reception. Free and open to the public; pre-registration requested.

Saturday January 30, 10 am-4 pm. Exhibit open for self-guided tours.

Saturday January 30, 12-2 pm. Join Chris Earnshaw, Joseph Mills, and Dan Zak of The Washington Post for a conversation with the artist and his collaborator. Free and open to the public; pre-registration requested.

Tuesday February 9, 12-2pm.  Take a look at bygone Washington through the resources of the Kiplinger Research Library. Join Library & Collections Director Anne McDonough for a weekday workshop and tap into the Historical Society’s holdings of maps, photographs, manuscript collections and other archival material relating to the District in the 1960s and 1970s. Topics and featured collections will include the Gay Liberation FrontDon’t Tear It Down; the diaries of G.I. Sawyer; Ivy City; the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther K756 - Toppling Capitaling, Jr.; and more. Free and open to the public. Register here.

Saturday February 20, 10 am-4 pm. Exhibit open for self-guided tours.

Saturday February 20, 12-2 pm. Join the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and Joshua Gorman, Collections Manager of the Anacostia Community Museum, for a discussion relating to the social, economic and political changes that form the backdrop for DISTRICT as well as Twelve Years that Shook and Shaped Washington: 1963-1975, the ACM’s current exhibit. Free and open to the public; pre-registration requested.