On Sunday, July 22, the Friends of the Greenbelt Museum were honored to be awarded a $1600 grant from the Greenbelt Community Foundation to support the upcoming exhibition, Greenbelt: The First 75 Years. The Museum’s new exhibition will be a timeline of significant events in the city’s 75-year history from it’s groundbreaking – right up to the present day. It will feature dozens of photographs, as well as oral histories, artifacts and interactive features for children – all of which will bring Greenbelt’s story to life. The exhibition is scheduled to open August 31, 2012. Stay tuned for more details. For more information about the Greenbelt Community Foundation, click here.
UPDATE: The last Hometown Heroes shows are this Sunday, July 22. There are tickets remaining for the 1:30pm and 2pm shows only! Please reserve by Friday, 5pm by calling 301-507-6582 or emailing email@example.com, thanks! The Greenbelt Museum is pleased to partner with alight dance theater this spring to co-produce Hometown Heroes: 75 Years of Extraordinary Greenbelt Women. This series of site specific interactive dance performances take place in and around the Museum’s historic house at 10B Crescent Road, and celebrate the stories of the women who have made Greenbelt such a dynamic and inspiring place to live since 1937. Using oral histories, period props and costumes, the performances explore the experiences of the women who lived in Greenbelt as young mothers and “homemakers” in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s to the present day. To accommodate these performances, the Museum will be open for regular Sunday tours beginning at 3:30pm on July 22.
Audience members are led through the historic home by the dancers of alight dance theater. The previous performances were completely sold out so reserve tickets soon (by 5pm Friday, July 20) for the remaining Sunday date: July 22, at 1:30pm and 2pm. Because of the small size of the house, each performance tour can only accommodate 6-8 people, so reserving your tickets ahead of time is strongly recommended. You can also purchase tickets on Sundays at the Museum House, 10B Crescent Road. Or you can reserve tickets by contacting Megan Searing Young, Director of the Greenbelt Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 507-6582 by July 20, 5pm. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, the day of the performance depending on availability. Tickets are $3 for general admission, $1 for seniors and free for Museum members. For more information about alight dance theater, visit the alight website, find them on Facebook, or read about the project on kickstarter.org
For a description of the dance performances and more photographs, visit Eric Zhang’s excellent blog about Greenbelt celebrating its 75th year.
Please note: Tickets for the June 3 performances are now SOLD OUT! The Greenbelt Museum is pleased to partner with alight dance theater this spring to co-produce Hometown Heroes: 75 Years of Extraordinary Greenbelt Women. This series of site specific interactive dance performances will take place in and around the Museum’s historic house at 10B Crescent Road, and will celebrate the stories of the women who have made Greenbelt such a dynamic and inspiring place to live since 1937. Using oral histories, period props and costumes, the performances will explore the experiences of the women who lived in Greenbelt as young mothers and “homemakers” in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s to the present day.
Audience members will be led through the historic home by the dancers of alight dance theater. The performance tours are scheduled for June 3 and 24 and July 15 and 22, at 1pm, 1:30pm, 2pm, and 2:30pm. Because of the small size of the house, each performance tour can only accommodate 6-8 people, so reserving your tickets ahead of time is strongly recommended. You can purchase tickets on Sundays beginning May 20 at the Museum House, 10B Crescent Road. Or you can reserve tickets by contacting Megan Searing Young, Director of the Greenbelt Museum at email@example.com or (301) 507-6582. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, depending on availability. Tickets are $3 for general admission, $1 for Museum members and seniors.
In addition to the performances at the Museum house, the Hometown Heroes project, as envisioned by Angella Foster, Artistic Director of alight dance theater, has many other components including an oral history/dance event at Springhill Lake Elementary, an exhibition which will open August 30 in the Community Gallery in the Community Center, and a film of the Museum performances. Says Foster, “I conceived of Hometown Heroes as a project that would reach across generations of Greenbelt women and celebrate all that women of all ages and experiences contribute to our beautiful community. Like every project, this work is shaping me as the artist as much as I have shaped it. Working with the girls at Springhill Lake Elementary and listening to oral histories from the museum archives have given me a new sense of being part of the fabric of this community and encouraged me to keep finding ways to cultivate creative community where ever I go. I hope that everyone who experiences the Hometown Heroes project will walk away feeling more connected to not just the history of Greenbelt but to the promise of this place, that intentional community could be a transformational and enduring legacy.” For more information about alight dance theater, visit the alight website, find them on Facebook, or read about the project on kickstarter.org
The 75th Anniversary Symposium: Sustaining Greenbelt’s Legacy was held April 27-28 here in Greenbelt, Maryland. The event was well attended with over 200 registrants and an impressive array of scholars, City staffers, residents and activists gave presentations on everything from cooperatives to construction of the Beltway and from religion to recycling. The event provided a forum for important burgeoning dialogues not just about Greenbelt’s history, but also about historic preservation, sustainability, race, age, and sexual orientation. The highlight of the weekend was a keynote address on Saturday afternoon from Dr. Mervyn Miller, “From the British Garden City to Greenbelt and Back to the English New Towns.” Dr. Miller’s fascinating talk explored the flow of ideas and information about garden cities across the Atlantic. Read more about the Symposium at the following sites: Greenbelt Patch, Eric Zhang’s excellent blog covering Greenbelt’s anniversary year, and the Greenbelt News Review.
In honor of Greenbelt’s 75th year, the 75th Anniversary committee has planned a year’s worth of events and activities. The 75th Anniversary Symposium: Sustaining Greenbelt’s Legacy, one of the signature events of the year, begins this Friday, April 27, and continues Saturday, April 28 at the Greenbelt Community Center. The full day and a half of sessions and panels will offer a fascinating look back at Greenbelt’s past, capture where Greenbelt is today and look to the future, to imagine where the community may be headed. Academics from several universities, city staff and Greenbelt residents examine the city’s enduring legacies in terms of community planning, recreation, cooperative ventures and citizen activism. Thursday, April 26, 6pm-8pm, the Greenbelt Museum will host an open house at 10B Crescent where signed copies of the new book, Images of America: Greenbelt will be available for sale. Dr. Mervyn Miller, an English planning historian, delivers a keynote address, “From The British Garden City to Greenbelt and Back to the English New Towns. ” at 1:00 pm, Saturday, April 28. For additional information, visit www.greenbeltmd.gov/75 . Advanced registration is closed, but you may register at the door, please fill out this form and bring it with you. The symposium will take place at the Greenbelt Community Center, 15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770.
Also this weekend, join the Museum for a free walking tour – part of a pilot program we are in the process of developing. The Museum has been experimenting with offering walking tours which leave from the historic house on Sundays as walking through the historic community is one of the best ways to experience Greenbelt’s unique history. Space on the tour is very limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested, please arrive at the Museum house by 2pm.
Join FOGM for our next lecture, Housing in Greenbelt: Beyond the New Deal Legacy, April 17, 2012 at 7:3opm, to be given by Greenbelt scholars and University of Maryland professors, Mary Corbin Sies and Isabelle Gournay. The lecture will take place at the Greenbelt Community Center, 15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770.
At 75, Greenbelt’s original brick and block townhouses and garden apartments have withstood the test of time. Expanding trom this crescent-shaped nucleus, the city ‘s residential landscape offers at present a wide array of desirable housing options. Ranging in size from the compact Parkbelt homes on Forestway to the Charlestowne North’s “tower in the park” overlooking Greenbelt Lake, from the cluster of cooperatively built homes on Woodland Hills to Greenbelt West’s Spring Hill Lake/Lenox Park complex, these diverse residential typologies have taken their cue from Greenbelt’s original housing cluster by offering greater planning and landscape amenities than is standard for suburban development. This talk by two University of Maryland and Greenbelt Museum volunteers living in Old Greenbelt distills research published in the book Housing Washington: Two Centuries of Residential Development and Planning in the National Capital Area and complements the upcoming 75th Anniversary Symposium: Sustaining Greenbelt’s Legacy.
The Symposium, to be held in the Greenbelt Community Center April 27 and April 28, will offer a fascinating look back at Greenbelt’s past, but most importantly will capture where Greenbelt is today and where it might be headed. Academics from several universities, city staff and Greenbelt residents examine the city’s enduring legacies in terms of community planning, recreation, cooperative ventures and citizen activism. Thursday, April 26, 6pm-8pm, the Greenbelt Museum will host an open house at 10B Crescent where signed copies of the new book, Images of America: Greenbelt will be available for sale. Dr. Mervyn Miller, an English planning historian, delivers a keynote address, “From The British Garden City to Greenbelt and Back to the English New Towns. ” at 1:00 pm, Saturday, April 28. For additional information, visit www.greenbeltmd.gov/75 . To register, please print and fill out this form. The symposium will take place at the Greenbelt Community Center, 15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770.
We’re trying something new here at the Greenbelt Museum. As many of you know, the Museum is operated as a partnership between the City of Greenbelt and the Friends of the Greenbelt Museum, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, also known as FOGM. In recent years, FOGM, like so many other nonprofits trying to function in a tough economy, has had a difficult time raising enough money to meet its needs. FOGM does a lot with the money it raises. It supports the part-time paid position of our Education/Volunteer Coordinator, funds exhibitions, walking tours, lectures, programs, as well as covering less glamorous expenditures like the monthly PEPCO bill at the Museum house. In response to these challenges, FOGM has tried to be creative in cutting costs. We’re experimenting, for instance, with distributing our newsletter via email to save on printing and postage costs. (If you are not receiving the newsletter by email, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know, or sign yourself up here .)
But it’s not enough, so this year, which marks our 25th Anniversary (!) we’re trying some new things – and one of them couldn’t be easier! Simply print out this flyer (or pick one up from the Museum), dine at Joe’s Crab Shack right here in Greenbelt on Saturday, March 10, between 12noon and 8pm, hand the flyer to your server, and the Greenbelt Museum will receive 10% of your bill. If you can’t make it to our event, but still want to support FOGM and the Museum, click here to make a donation! We thank you very much for helping us to keep Greenbelt history alive! Stay tuned for more details about our 25th year and Greenbelt’s 75th Anniversary!
Greenbelt, Maryland is a planned community built in 1937 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. One of three Green Towns built during the Great Depression, the project put struggling Americans to work, provided much needed low-income housing in the Washington, D.C. region and was a bold experiment in town planning and cooperative living. Its first residents enjoyed modern homes, schools, a pool, a library and a town center complete with cooperative businesses and a movie theater all within walking distance of the homes in a utopian park-like setting.
Those first residents of Greenbelt, however, were exclusively white. Although Greenbelt was integrated in terms of religion, which was unusual for a New Deal Community, it was racially segregated. African American workers such as the ones pictured here importantly helped to build the town, but they were not able to apply for residency here as Greenbelt, Prince Georges County, and the state of Maryland were all racially segregated at the time. Early town plans called for an area to be set aside and called the Rossville Rural Development which was purportedly to be used by African American families, (see The New Deal in the Suburbs: A History of the Greenbelt Town Program 1935-1954, by Joseph Arnold) but the plans were dropped early on as they were too controversial.
The federal government did build two other New Deal era communities in the Mid-Atlantic region for African Americans, Langston Terrace in Washington, D. C. and Aberdeen Gardens outside of Newport News, Virginia.
Greenbelt turns 75 this year and in preparation for an upcoming timeline exhibition, the Greenbelt Museum is actively researching both the African American workers who helped to build Greenbelt and the first families of color who moved into Greenbelt, probably in the late 1960s. If you or anyone you know has any information, recollections, or photographs of African Americans in Greenbelt from the late 1930s on, please contact us at email@example.com. For more information about 75th Anniversary events, including an anniversary symposium which will explore diversity in one of its sessions, please visit the City of Greenbelt’s website. Or download the Symposium registration form here.
As you may have heard recently on WAMU 88.5′s program, Metro Connection, Greenbelt, Maryland, established in 1937 and built by the federal government as an experiment in modern town planning , turns 75 in 2012! A year-long series of events and activities are already underway. A kick-off event was held January 8, a lecture about the new Arcadia Images of America book on Greenbelt, was held on Tuesday, January 17, and next up are a screening of Three Brave Men, and a program co-sponsored by the Greenbelt Astronomy Club entitled, “75 Years of Stars.” A walk around Greenbelt’s three lakes is planned for April, as well as a symposium, “Sustaining Greenbelt’s Legacy.” Other signature events include cutting edge dance performances inside the Museum’s historic house at 10B Crescent by Alight Dance Theater in June, an address by James Roosevelt, Jr. in September and a gala dinner dance in October. For more information about these and other events, please visit the 75th Anniversary website.
To plan your visit to the Greenbelt Museum, which turns 25 years old in 2012, visit here. The Museum’s historic house is open by appointment only in January but will resume its regular Sunday hours beginning February 5, 2012. To support the preservation of this unique New Deal Community, join the Friends of the Greenbelt Museum, a non-profit dedicated to celebrating and sharing the history of Greenbelt, Maryland.
Join FOGM Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 7:30pm for our next lecture, a book talk by co-author Megan Searing Young about how she and co-author Jill Parsons St. John wrote and chose images for the new Arcadia book, Images of America: Greenbelt. The new book, released in November 2011, covers the early history of Greenbelt, Maryland right up to the present day. Produced as a project of the 75th Anniversary of Greenbelt, Maryland, the book is comprised of over 200 captioned photographs, many of which have never before beeen published.
Choosing the maps, photographs, and advertising images that comprise the book and distilling seventy-five years of historical information into captions was not an easy process for the authors. See some of the images from each of the seven chapters that the authors chose notto include and hear why or why not certain images made the cut.
Chapters include: Planning a Greenbelt Town, Building Greenbelt, Greenbelt “Pioneers” Settle In, World War II and the 1940s, A Cooperative Buys the Town, Greenbelt Expands in the 1960s and 1970s, and the 1980s and Beyond. Books will be for sale at the event. For more information, contact Megan Searing Young, Greenbelt Museum Director at 301-507-6582 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Save the date for our next lecture scheduled for April 17, 2012, Greenbelt Maryland: Beyond the Iconic Legacy when we welcome Greenbelt scholars Isabelle Gournay and Mary Corbin Sies.
FOGM lectures are free and open to the public and take place in Room 201 of the Greenbelt Community Center, 15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770.