Anacostia Community Museum Announces “Our Environment, Our Future”

2023 Theme Focuses on Environmental Justice and New Center
February 15, 2023
News Release
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Illustration of women interacting in a lush green landscape

Art by Amir Khadar

As part of a multi-year focus on community issues, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum has announced “Our Environment, Our Future” as the theme for 2023. Through planned exhibitions, programs and the opening of a new Smithsonian Center, the museum will examine the topic of environmental justice in the Washington metropolitan area using the lens of race and gender. This theme deepens the museum’s existing work in pioneering community-centered practices and critical environmental justice conversations. 

“Our Environment, Our Future” is part of a five-year initiative, “Transforming America,” that looks closely at how racial inequality plays out in the lives of everyday people in communities across the Washington region and beyond, leading up to 2026, the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. This initiative reflects the museum’s mission and vision by collecting and using community stories to show not only a community’s challenges, but their triumphs as well.

“Our multi-year focus, ‘Transforming America,’ is entering its third year,” said Melanie Adams, the Roger Ferguson and Annette Nazareth Director of the museum. “Since 2021, we have been examining different societal and racial justice issues that impact our communities. Each year through these specific themes, and through our exhibits and programs, the Anacostia Community Museum will continue to foster discussions and learning. In 2021, the museum focused on food equity, and in 2022, we focused on housing equity. Now, for 2023, we turn our focus to the environment.”

The highlight of the year will be the launch of the Smithsonian’s Center for Environmental Justice at the Anacostia Community Museum on Earth Day, April 22. The center seeks to create a future in which environmentalism is a cornerstone of civic engagement through which residents contribute to the development of healthy, equitable communities. The center encourages a humanities-led framework that places traditional scientific research and data in the context of daily life. Center staff will organize symposiums, panels, fellowships, an Environmental Justice Academy that will engage young people living in the region, as well as continue the work of well-known programs like “Growing Community,” the long-standing community gardening program. 

On May 19, “To Live and Breathe: Women and Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C.” opens to the public. This exhibition highlights the stories of local women and their efforts to ensure that all communities are safe and healthy. The stories in this exhibition provide visitors with inspiring examples of women facing great odds who are tireless in their efforts to protect their families, their neighbors and their communities.   

In 2023, the museum has a number of special programming days planned, including Earth Day (April 22), exhibition opening weekend (May 19–21), Juneteenth (June 19) programming and the Anacostia Community Museum Founder’s Day (Sept. 15). In addition to these special programming days, a Farmer’s Market will be held at the museum every Saturday from April 22 through Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. An updated calendar is available. 

About the Museum

Founded in 1967, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum shares the untold and often overlooked stories of communities furthest from justice in the greater Washington, D.C., region. In celebrating stories of resiliency, joy and strength, the museum inspires those who visit to translate their ideas into action. For more information about the museum, visit anacostia.si.edu or follow the museum on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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