The Anacostia Museum, officially named the Anacostia Community Museum, is the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of African American history and culture. The small museum is located in Southeast Washington, DC and offers exhibitions, educational programs, workshops, lectures, film screenings and other special events that interpret black history from the 1800s to the present.
The facility opened in 1967 in a converted movie theater in Southeast Washington as the nation’s first federally funded neighborhood museum. In 1987, the museum changed its name from the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum to the Anacostia Museum to reflect an increased mandate to examine, preserve, and interpret African American history and culture, not only locally and regionally, but nationally and internationally as well.
Approximately 6,000 objects are on display dating to the early 1800s, including works of art, archaeological materials, textiles, furniture, photographs, audio tapes, videos and musical instruments. The collection highlights African American religion and spirituality, African American performance, African American quilts, African American family and community life in Washington, D.C., and other regions, African American photography and contemporary popular culture.
Anacostia Museum Library:
The museum library has 5,000 volumes with newly expanded capacity for 10,000. Archives include historically important publications, research files for museum exhibitions, and a large collection of photographic images reflecting Washington’s black community life in the 1970s and 1980s.