National Building Museum to reopen with exhibit on gun violence

The National Building Museum is reopening in April with an exhibit on American gun violence
National Building Museum/Elman Studio

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday announced a new exhibition set to open next month titled the “Gun Violence Memorial Project.”

The April 9 opening of the memorial will coincide with the museum’s reopening after 16 months closed due to restoration work and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project was conceived by MASS Design Group and conceptual artist and artistic director of Songha & Co. Hank Willis Thomas in partnership with gun control advocacy groups Purpose Over Pain and the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund.

The exhibition will be located on the museum’s ground floor and will be free to the public to view.

“As the recent tragic shootings in Colorado and Georgia sadly underscore, gun violence isn’t an abstract concept, but an epidemic that strikes every American community,” Brent D. Glass, interim executive director of the museum, said in a press release. “We are honored to host the Gun Violence Memorial Project so that our visitors may experience firsthand the power of design to encourage reflection, memory, and healing.”

The exhibition is comprised of four glass houses which are each built with 700 bricks to represent the number of people killed in the U.S. by guns every week. The houses contain hundreds of objects meant to reveal personal details of specific victims, with more to be filled in as the exhibit goes on.

A video presentation featuring excerpts from an upcoming documentary on the effects of gun violence titled “Comes the Light” will also be shown.

The Gun Violence Memorial Project first premiered in 2019 at the Chicago Cultural Center. It will be hosted by the National Building Museum until September of next year.

“In the movement to end gun violence, we must remember who we’re fighting for and who can no longer stand beside us in this fight,” Noelle Howey, senior director of cultural engagement at Everytown, said of the exhibition. “This project uses tangible objects to spotlight the trauma and pain felt throughout our country. This Memorial will play a huge role in changing hearts and minds, and illustrates the need for immediate action on gun violence.”

Other exhibitions that will be available as the museum reopens include “Justice is Beauty: The Work of MASS Design Group,” which focuses on an architecture work for “public health, personal well-being, and human dignity,” and “Alan Karchmer: The Architects’ Photographer.”

The exhibits will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and masks will be required for all visitors.

Tags coronavirus reopenings Everytown for Gun Safety gun deaths Gun reform gun violence museums national building museum

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