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Anacostia Community Museum (ACM)

Melanie Adams, Director

The mission of the Anacostia Community Museum is focused on the examination of contemporary urban issues and community life, and on community-focused approaches to research, documentation, and educational and cultural programming. The geographic scope of museum work incorporates the Washington, D.C. Metro area as well as urban communities in other parts of the United States.  Core to the work of the museum is the belief that active citizen participation in the recovery and preservation of community historical assets, in cultural and arts activities, and in community advocacy are important and powerful instruments in creating and maintaining a sense of community and civic ownership. The permanent collection supports the museum’s investigation of contemporary community life, and of issues and themes that shape and resonate within urban communities. An important goal of museum collections is the development of strategies to engage public audiences with the artifacts and other materials in the museum’s collections.

Smithsonian interns and fellows assist the museum in bringing scholarship and formal research-to-research programs. In addition to the range of scholarship within the humanities and social sciences, the museum is also interested in students and researchers in the fields of social and human geography, community studies, cultural studies, and urban ecology. The museum has a strong focus on community-based documentation and research efforts—including oral history interviewing, community survey and mapping projects, and community-based collecting.

Museum research centers on four main areas of inquiry:

  • Urban Arts: the wide range of creative activities that take place within urban communities
  • Cultural Encounters: the interaction between diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural communities with a focus on migration and immigration
  • Urban Ecology: the environmental issues found in urban spaces and the impact of the built environment on the natural environment within urban areas
  • Urban Studies: the broad array of issues within urban spaces, including research on community history; land use; demographic changes; planning strategies, development and gentrification

Research Staff

Amos, Alcione M., Museum Curator. B.A. (1972) Faculdade de Filosofia, Brazil; MSLS (1974) Catholic University. Research specialties: neighborhood change in particular the impact of the building of Suitland Parkway on Historic Barry Farm; community impact of migration and immigration on urban populations, in particular post-Civil War population changes in Washington, DC; post-slavery societies, in particular study of Black Seminole society in the United States and Mexico and Afro-Brazilian returnees to West Africa in the 19th century. Contact: 

Doutriaux, Miriam, Collections Manager. Research Specialties: cultural production and negotiation of identity, the history of collecting and museums, material culture, archaeology, and ancient American art and aesthetics. B.A. McGill University; PhD (Anthropology) University of California-Berkeley.  Contact

Meghelli, Samir, Curator. B.A. (2004) University of Pennsylvania; M.A. (2006) Columbia University; M.Phil. (2008) Columbia University; Ph.D. (2012) Columbia University. Research Specialties: Urban history; African American and African diaspora history; Hip Hop and youth cultures; Social movements; Community history and oral history.  Contact:

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