Anacostia Community Museum



anacostia-museum-exhibit-design-me3Following the title of the exhibit we structure the gallery around the Big-Idea of gateways. Shown above is one of the three gateways.


In the final gateway an artist created a "Day of the Dead" altar.


The "Gateway/Portales" exhibit at Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum was a ground breaking Latinx exhibit by curator Ariana Curtis.The new exhibition explores the triumphs and struggles of Latinx migrants and immigrants through the lenses of rights and justice, representation and celebration.The exhibit explores what does it mean for Latinx migrants and immigrants to make a home in a U.S. city? Both struggle and triumph.

This is the first show to use the term Latinx. The gender neutral term for Latina or Latino. 

The museum exhibit is organized in three areas: Civil Rights and Social Justice, Creating Homes and Constructing Communities, and Festival as Community Empowerment. The design of the exhibit articulates this organization by having the visitor pass through three gateways built in the gallery space. community access, and public festivals, this exhibition explores the experiences of Latino migrants and immigrants in four U.S. metro areas: Washington DC, Baltimore, MD; Charlotte, NC; and Raleigh-Durham, NC.



Fully bilingual Exhibit 
The exhibit design found innovative methods of displaying English and Spanish without creating a hierarchy. It also employed the detachable text panels to manage the duplication of text area. In this manner we achieve a better balance of between artifacts, images and text in term of wall space coverage.  

Co-Creation with Local Artist
At Museum Environments we consider artist as partners and co-creators of the exhibit design process. We believe that their participation authenticates the voice of the exhibit.

Rosalia Torres-Weiner produced  mural for the exhibit. Cornelio Campos is a self-trained painter from Cheran, Michoacan,Mexico who now resides in Durham, North Carolina. Artist Gabriela Lujan created a  Day of the Dead altar in the “Festival as Community Empowerment” section.

“Gateways” received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. Related programs are funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Established in 1967, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum focuses on examining the impact of contemporary social issues on urban communities. For more information, call (202) 633-4820; for tours, call (202) 633-4844. Website:

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