Exhibit: "Washington: Symbol and City"
D.C. Mayor Vince Gray likely celebrated the one-year anniversary of his office with a sigh and a sip of something flat. It's been a rough year, what with allegations of bribery, cronyism, and nepotism, not to mention several small skirmishes with the Republican-led House. Gray's tenure thus far would fit neatly in a multi-volume set about the dichotomous nature of Washington, D.C., "a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm," according to President John F. Kennedy. An exhibit at the National Building Museum will suffice for laypeople. "Washington: Symbol and City" analyzes the city from its swampy roots to present: Migratory patterns into and out of the District that corresponded to wars and boom and bust cycles; the "alternative downtown" that evolved in the Shaw neighborhood after the Civil War but before the Civil Rights movement; the development of new urban planning strategies needed to organize, protect, and house a constantly growing federal government; and the chronically near-simmering tensions between Washington (where national politics happen) and D.C. (where local people live). Ongoing at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Phone: 202.272.2448. Web: www.nbm.org