The Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum marks its 45th anniversary with the gala "Reclaiming Our Edge: Launching a New Vision" Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m. on the grounds of the museum at 1901 Fort Pl. S.E., in Washington, D.C. First Lady Michelle Obama is the honorary chair for the event, which pays tribute to the nation's first federally funded community museum and its evolution to an urban community focus after more than four decades of work in the field of African American history.
"We are celebrating the museum's work to promote community cultural engagement as we reach this important milestone and move forward in a new direction," said Camille Giraud Akeju, director of the museum.
The event will offer a preview of the museum's new exhibition, "Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways and Civic Engagement" (new date: opening Oct. 15), which examines citizens' efforts to restore rivers—including the Anacostia River, Washington's "other" river—in six urban communities worldwide as well as the cultural, historical and ecological importance of such waterways.
Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid, veteran television actors and founders of New Millennium Studios, are co-emcees for the celebration, which includes the presentation of the museum's Legacy Awards to five individuals who have made significant contributions to the community or museum: Denise Rolark Barnes, publisher, Washington Informer and, posthumously, her parents, Calvin Rolark Sr. and Wilhelmina Rolark; Philip Pannell, executive director of the Anacostia Coordinating Council; and Anastasia Johnson, long-time museum volunteer.
Corporate sponsors of the gala include Children's National Medical Center and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. Inspired by the upcoming exhibition, the gala will immerse guests in an undulating virtual water environment where they can dance on the virtual river floor, enjoy specialty food and drinks based on the featured river communities and participate in the silent auction.