- About Us
August 27, 2015
My Smithsonian Experience by Lucy Platten
Urban communities are primary sites at which far-reaching changes are being played out. Shifts in demographic composition; gentrification and suburbanization; encounters between ethnic groups; tensions between community development and historic preservation; efforts to protect the natural environment; loss of /and changing cultural and social traditions; rapid and significant technological change, particularly in communications technology; and increasing globalization of local economies and popular culture have a direct and immediate impact on families and individuals within the context of neighborhood and community. Cities, neighborhoods, communities, and families are the venues where history is being made and experienced on a day-to-day basis.
The museum’s research mission is to examine, document, and discuss these historical and cultural dynamics that are seen and felt at an everyday level. Museum research into issues and themes that resonate within urban communities allows residents to make links and connections between their communities and other urban centers—including pathways to solving shared issues and challenges. ACM brings scholarship and formal research to this inquiry, incorporating the memories and insights provided through first-person accounts. Documentation and research efforts are community-based and include oral history interviews, survey and mapping projects, and community-based collecting efforts.
CDI is an ongoing research and documentation initiative to gather, organize, and make accessible to the public information and material on cultural, social, and economic activities, and on contemporary community life in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. While we maintain a focus on the neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River and on the Washington, D.C., metro area, our research and collecting activities include urban communities in the U.S. and around the world.