Gentrification is neighborhood change that results in one group of people being replaced by another in a way that reflects the elimination/marginalization of the less fortunate/privileged group. In Washington D.C ., like many other metropolitan areas around the world, this has often fallen along racial, ethnic and economic lines. Gentrification reflects broad and global structural adjustments going on in the U.S. national and in international economies, and recent decades show increasing involvement by the state (i.e., local and county government officials). It is one of the most significant and widely discussed processes happening in urban communities today.

To reinforce and expand ACM’s engagement with its local urban communities, Anacostia Community Museum is developing a project examining neighborhood change, gentrification, and changing demographics. The project will focus on selected neighborhoods in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Museum educational programs, research, documentation, and the resulting exhibition will highlight diverse social issues and research queries, including: memory and neighborhood change; land use and the role of zoning and planning; demographic change, immigration, and migration; attitudes about neighborhood change; suburbanization of poverty; and infrastructure and community development.

The museum’s approach to this subject calls attention to the social history underlying gentrification, and brings historical research and neighborhood documentation to the effort. The process for developing the ACM project seeks to enhance the capacity of neighborhood groups to recover and preserve their own community histories by sharing museum research and documentation results through public programs and online media. Through collaborative educational programming, ACM will work with other organizations to highlight publicly available information and resources on neighborhood change. Museum public programs will also bring together stakeholders of diverse perspectives to facilitate public discourse on different issues involving neighborhood change.

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