DISTRICT II

DISTRICTII_header4

900 block of 9th St., N.W. © Chris Earnshaw

PrintThis exhibit is organized by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and is presented at and in collaboration with the National Building Museum.

nbm_web_186x186-redOn View

November 19, 2016 – February 12, 2017

DISTRICT II examines the streets of downtown D.C. through the lenses of three premier chroniclers of mid- to late 20th century Washington:

Bill Barrett: Mt. Vernon Squared
Chris Earnshaw: Billy Luck’s Downtown
Joseph Mills: Inner City

First Congregational Church, 935 G St., N.W. © Wm. Edmund Barrett, Kiplinger Washington Collection, Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

935 G St., N.W., 1964.  Wm. Edmund Barrett © Kiplinger Washington Editors, Kiplinger Washington Collection, Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Organized by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.  and presented in partnership at the National Building Museum, the visual survey explores several decades of architectural and social change in the heart of the Nation’s Capital, from the majesty of the McGill building, to storefronts exclaiming TOPLESS GO GO, to sleeping street denizens and the aching beauty of respectable rooming houses turned less-so flophouses slated for the wrecking ball.

S.W. corner of 7th and L Sts., N.W., April 8, 1968. © Chris Earnshaw

S.W. corner of 7th and L Sts., N.W., April 8, 1968 © Chris Earnshaw

DISTRICT II provides Washingtonians and visitors alike a historic context through which to experience contemporary life in the neighborhoods surrounding the exhibition space. Displaying choice examples from the historic collections of the Historical Society, as well as significant loans from the artists, the exhibition includes never-before-exhibited scenes captured by Barrett, Earnshaw and Mills through the decades along with historical notes on the development, destruction, reuse and adaptation of buildings and public spaces in downtown D.C. over an approximately fifty-year period.

Inner City, 1980s © Joseph Mills

Inner City, 1980s © Joseph Mills

DISTRICT II and the accompanying proposed programming allows the viewer to explore the multilayered tension between what is lost, and what is gained, as urban centers wax and wane, experience decay and renewal, and serve in tandem as commercial centers, tourism hubs, and residential neighborhoods.

Exhibit Hours & Tickets
The exhibit is open during regular public hours of the National Building Museum: Monday through Saturday, 10 am–5 pm, and Sunday, 11 am–5 pm. The Museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and occasional special events. Exhibit entrance is free for Historical Society members and National Building Museum members. General admission tickets are $10 (General adults) and $7 (General youth; students with ID; seniors age 60 and over)

Sponsored bynewseumeventsdcScheduled Exhibit Programming

Historical Society Members-Only Preview

Friday Nov. 18, 12pm-5pm. Free registration. At the National Building Museum.

Members get a sneak peek at the Historical Society’s new exhibition before it opens to the general public. Not yet a member? Join us!

Billy Luck’s Downtown Walking Tour

Saturday Dec. 3, 2016, 1-2:30pm. Tickets and registration required. Walking tour will begin and end outside the west entrance to the National Building Museum.

Join the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and photographer and architectural history raconteur Chris Earnshaw for a winter stroll and discover the people, places,  and scenes of bygone downtown D.C. Participants are encouraged to visit the related DISTRICT II exhibit prior to or after concluding the tour.

F Street: The Place on the Ridge Screening

Thursday Dec. 15, 6:30-8:30pm. Free registration. At the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Washingtoniana Division

This video portrait (a film by Phil Portlock, 50 min.), of downtown D.C.’s historic Main Street looks at the history of F Street, NW, from Third to 15th Street. The filmmaker examines how F Street has held its own for nearly 200 years as the tide of commerce has ebbed and flowed, often leaving in its wake empty streets and vacant buildings. In addition to historic views, the filmmaker photographed a year in the life of F Street from 1980 to 1981. Click here for selected related resources in the Kiplinger Research Library.

Join Anne McDonough, Library & Collections Director, Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and Phil Portlock, photographer, writer, film documentary producer, social justice activist and native Washingtonian, for a conversation after the screening.

Billy Luck’s Mt. Vernon Squared Walking Tour

Sunday Jan. 8, 2017, 1-2:30pm. Tickets and registration required. Walking tour will begin outside the Carnegie Library building at Mt. Vernon Square and end outside the west entrance to the National Building Museum. This tour follows a different route from the December tour.

Join the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and photographer and architectural history raconteur Chris Earnshaw for a winter stroll and discover the people, places, and scenes of bygone downtown D.C. Participants are encouraged to visit the related DISTRICT II exhibit prior to or after concluding the tour.

Documenting Downtown D.C. Discussion

Tuesday January 10, 2017, 6:30-8pm. Tickets and registration required.

At the National Building Museum.

The introduction of Metrorail, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., grass-roots and codified historic preservation efforts: These developments are among the many influences on the built and social environment of downtown D.C. during decades of rapid change. Join moderator filmmaker Jeff Krulik  and photographers Chris Earnshaw, Phil Portlock, Bill Lebovich, and Joseph Mills for insight on documenting downtown from the 1960s onwards, through their street, architectural, and subterranean photography.

Wymer’s (Downtown) DC Hackathon

Wednesday January 18, 2017, 12-2pm. Free and open to the public. Registration required. At the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

A decade before Bill Barrett began his documentation of downtown D.C., hobbyist photographer John P. Wymer spent his free time roving the streets with his camera; he donated his images to the Historical Society in 1977. Bring your laptop for this lunchtime session and help update the interactive WymersDC.com web site, focusing on 1940s-1950s images of the area around the Carnegie Library building, Mt. Vernon Square, and downtown D.C.

Carnegie Library tour: Race, Space, and the Power of Place on Mt. Vernon Square

Thursday January 19, 2017, 11:30am-12:15pm. Tickets and registration required. At the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

This experiential tour explores how concepts of race and difference impact how citizens are allowed, prohibited, discouraged, or encouraged to share space. Public space, as scholars from Dolores Hayden to David Harvey remind us, speak to how we share space with one another – and who is seen as having “a right to the city.”  Ideas about who has access to what parts of a city landscape are tightly entangled with how buildings are built, what they are imagined to symbolize, and how they are used. Presented by scholar Izetta Autumn Mobley, Public Programs and Outreach lead, the tour gives participants an opportunity to learn about the building’s history as one of the District’s first desegregated spaces, how the building works as a great metaphor  of the relationship between the Federal city and D.C., and investigate ideas of “contested space” as we explore the many functions of the library and square.

 

Upcoming Events

Mar 09

DC Oral History Collaborative Community Meeting

March 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EST
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Free
Mar 26

Palisades Photo Walk

March 26 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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$20.00 - $30.00