This weekend, the Humanities Truck was at the DC History Conference! We greeted over 200 conference attendees and passers-by on the University of the District of Columbia campus and met so many people with brilliant ideas for projects. This event has made us eager for future collaborations with new community partners!
Our popup exhibit “Whose Downtown? The Past and Future of the CCNV Shelter” was created from Humanities Truck Director Dan Kerr‘s research on homelessness, which was relevant to the conference theme of Mobility, Movement, and Migration. This exhibition provided different ways of engaging with the content. Visitors could watch the documentary playing on the outside TV, look at photos and a chronological telling of the story on panels inside the truck, listen to oral histories playing on the inside speakers, and peruse printed documents. This exhibit has something for everyone interested in learning about housing tensions in DC, homelessness, the CCNV shelter, and Mitch Snyder.
The housing and homeless issues and tensions we are faced with now are not new. The construction of the very building currently housing the shelter led to the displacement of the remnants of a black working-class alley community. For nearly one hundred years, there have been efforts to move the poor from the core of the city and counter struggles to resist this dispossession. Rather than being unwanted guests downtown, the impoverished have a long term claim to the space.
The Humanities Truck will be heading to the CCNV shelter with this exhibition on display in the near future.