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Washington City Museum

时间:2005-06-03 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:vipnoble   字体: [ ]

By Cynthia Kirk
Broadcast: August 18, 2003
Washington, D.C., has many museums. Some examine Washington as a federal city. But a new museum tells the story of the nation's capital and its people. I'm Faith Lapidus.
And I'm Steve Ember. We tell about the City Museum this week on the VOA Special English program, This is America.
Barbara Franco is director of the City Museum. She says visitors learn that Washington, D.C., is much more than just the historic buildings. D.C. means District of Columbia, the name of the larger federal area with Washington at the center. The museum tells about the people and events that helped shaped the capital. Five-hundred-thousand people live in the city.
The City Museum is a thirty-million dollar project. It was created by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. The Historical Society was founded in eighteen-ninety-four.
The City Museum is inside the Carnegie Library building at Mount Vernon Square, in Washington's newly 1)redeveloped downtown area. The Carnegie Library was the city's first public library. It was open from nineteen-oh-three until nineteen-seventy. The Carnegie Library was chosen for the museum because of its own history as a welcoming place. There was a time when laws could keep black people out of buildings. The Carnegie Library is one of the few public buildings in Washington that was never segregated1.
Barbara Franco says the City Museum is designed to be interactive2. Doors open to different periods in Washington's history. Visitors pick up a 2)speakerphone and listen to stories about the city. A film tells the history with hip-hop music and special effects. Pictures of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln speak and appear to jump out at you.
The main room has many pictures and rare documents. Visitors can read the freedom papers of a former slave. A poster from eighteen-sixty-five offers reward money to find the killer3 of President Lincoln. The killer was John Wilkes Booth, an actor who supported the Confederate states of the South. Booth was caught and killed before there could be a trial.
But Barbara Franco says the most popular thing at the museum is a huge lighted floor map of Washington. The map was made from a satellite picture. Local visitors can find their home, or school, or anyplace else around the city.
Around the map, the room is divided into time periods. These begin with the Piscataway Indians who settled the area four-thousand years ago.
Visitors learn about Pierre L'Enfant, a French-born building designer who lived in America. L'Enfant designed the city of Washington in seventy-ninety-one, at the direction of George Washington, the nation's first president.
And there was Alexander Shepherd. He was governor of Washington from eighteen-seventy-three to eighteen-seventy-four. He led an improvement campaign that included building streets and planting trees. But he left the city several million dollars in debt.
There is also the story of James Wormley. His father was a slave. Yet in eighteen-seventy-one, after the Civil War, James Wormley opened one of the best hotels in the city.
Barbara Franco says this success shows that African Americans played an important part in Washington's early history. But she notes that some of that progress was harmed because of future laws in America that treated blacks unfairly.
Washington has more than one-hundred-twenty-five neighborhood communities. Visitors to the museum learn about areas such as Adams Morgan, Georgetown and Chinatown.
Chinese immigrants established a community on Pennsylvania Avenue during the middle of the eighteen-hundreds. They were later forced out, but found a permanent home along H Street in Northwest Washington.
The City Museum also deals with longstanding tensions over local control of Washington. Today, Washington has an elected mayor and city council. But citizens protest that while they have taxation4, they have no voting representation in Congress. Some people think the solution is to make Washington the fifty-first state.
The museum also explores the city's history of racial problems. Tensions were high during the slavery debates before the Civil War in the eighteen-sixties. In nineteen-nineteen, race 3)riots took place. Whites attacked black neighborhoods. In nineteen-sixty-eight, blacks rioted after the murder of Martin Luther King Junior in Memphis, Tennessee.
During the nineteen-sixties, African Americans also protested racial inequality in schools. They worked to desegregate eating places and theaters. And they worked to end restrictive housing laws.
Some streets in Washington are named after letters in the alphabet. U Street, for example, has a long and interesting history. In the early nineteen-hundreds, Greater U Street was the center of entertainment and business in Washington.
U Street was part of the artistic5 movement of the nineteen-twenties and thirties known as the Harlem Renaissance6. People heard some of the city's best music along what became known as the black Broadway. Singer Bessie Smith played at the Howard Theater. So did a Washingtonian who became a famous orchestra leader, Duke Ellington.
U Street also was home to the Twelfth Street YMCA, a center for community activities and sports. YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian7 Association. The Twelfth Street "Y," as it was called, was the first black YMCA in the country. It was built in nineteen-twelve.
Here was one of the few places where African Americans could find a home away from home and make life-long friends. Political activists9 met at the Y to organize marches to demand the same freedoms as white people.
Teachers and professors lived at the Y because rooms there did not cost much. Writer Langston Hughes lived at the Twelfth Street Y when he wrote his first book in the nineteen-twenties. Listen now to a recording10 from the City Museum of a doctor and his wife:
MAN: "I probably wouldn't be here today if it hadn't been for the Y. Because, as I can look back, I came to Washington, never been out of Texas, had less than five dollars after I paid the cab fare from Union Station to the Y -- now this was in January, snow was on the ground -- and here I am, they literally11 took me in."
WOMAN: "The Y gave me my first job. That was my first time being away from home, where I took care of myself. I made friends back then, who are still my friends. I think being at the Y had an impression on my life."
As visitors explore the City Museum, they learn about the period when Marion Barry was mayor of Washington. He began as an activist8 seeking home rule for the District and civil rights. His popularity won him election to the school board, the city council and finally the mayor's office. He served from nineteen-seventy-eight to nineteen-ninety.
But there were mismanaged social programs, debt and repeated accusations12 of dishonesty in his administration. In nineteen-ninety, Marion Barry was arrested for drug possession. He resigned and served six months in prison. Then, in nineteen-ninety-four, Washington voters elected him to four more years as mayor.
When people in Washington are tired of politics, they can turn to sports. Washington has a number of teams, although no Major League baseball team for more than thirty years. Yet, during 4)segregation13, even sports was no escape from racial realities.
Negro League baseball teams were popular in the nineteen-thirties. But they could not play white teams. Sports centers for blacks often lacked equipment and space. Race also divided play areas for children. Listen to this recording from the City Museum:
WOMAN: "Only ten white children are using the spacious14 New York Avenue playground, while across the street a thousand Negro girls and five-hundred Negro boys at the Dunbar High School have no play space at all. Dark-skinned children peer wistfully through the fence at a well-equipped white playground in their neighborhood. Historian Constance Green."
Over the years, some government agencies and businesses have left Washington for nearby areas of Virginia and Maryland. Many whites fled the city after the nineteen-sixty-eight riots and the high crime rates of more recent years. So did a lot of blacks, especially wealthier ones.
Today, some people are returning to Washington. There is a lot of building and redevelopment going on. City Museum director Barbara Franco hopes the new exhibits will get more people to explore what she says is the real museum -- Washington itself.
This is America was written and produced by Cynthia Kirk. This is Faith Lapidus.
And this is Steve Ember. Join us again next week for another program about life in the United States on the VOA Special English program, This is America.

1) redeveloped [7ri:di5velEpt] adj.恢复(促进)经济发展的,重点恢复的
2) speakerphone [5spi:kEfEJn] n.喇叭扩音器
3) riot [5raiEt] n.暴乱,骚动
4) segregation [7se^ri5^eiFEn] n.种族隔离


1 segregated 457728413c6a2574f2f2e154d5b8d101     
分开的; 被隔离的
  • a culture in which women are segregated from men 妇女受到隔离歧视的文化
  • The doctor segregated the child sick with scarlet fever. 大夫把患猩红热的孩子隔离起来。
2 interactive KqZzFY     
  • The psychotherapy is carried out in small interactive groups.这种心理治疗是在互动的小组之间进行的。
  • This will make videogames more interactive than ever.这将使电子游戏的互动性更胜以往。
3 killer rpLziK     
  • Heart attacks have become Britain's No.1 killer disease.心脏病已成为英国的头号致命疾病。
  • The bulk of the evidence points to him as her killer.大量证据证明是他杀死她的。
4 taxation tqVwP     
  • He made a number of simplifications in the taxation system.他在税制上作了一些简化。
  • The increase of taxation is an important fiscal policy.增税是一项重要的财政政策。
5 artistic IeWyG     
  • The picture on this screen is a good artistic work.这屏风上的画是件很好的艺术品。
  • These artistic handicrafts are very popular with foreign friends.外国朋友很喜欢这些美术工艺品。
6 renaissance PBdzl     
  • The Renaissance was an epoch of unparalleled cultural achievement.文艺复兴是一个文化上取得空前成就的时代。
  • The theme of the conference is renaissance Europe.大会的主题是文艺复兴时期的欧洲。
7 Christian KVByl     
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
8 activist gyAzO     
  • He's been a trade union activist for many years.多年来他一直是工会的积极分子。
  • He is a social activist in our factory.他是我厂的社会活动积极分子。
9 activists 90fd83cc3f53a40df93866d9c91bcca4     
n.(政治活动的)积极分子,活动家( activist的名词复数 )
  • His research work was attacked by animal rights activists . 他的研究受到了动物权益维护者的抨击。
  • Party activists with lower middle class pedigrees are numerous. 党的激进分子中有很多出身于中产阶级下层。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 recording UktzJj     
  • How long will the recording of the song take?录下这首歌得花多少时间?
  • I want to play you a recording of the rehearsal.我想给你放一下彩排的录像。
11 literally 28Wzv     
  • He translated the passage literally.他逐字逐句地翻译这段文字。
  • Sometimes she would not sit down till she was literally faint.有时候,她不走到真正要昏厥了,决不肯坐下来。
12 accusations 3e7158a2ffc2cb3d02e77822c38c959b     
n.指责( accusation的名词复数 );指控;控告;(被告发、控告的)罪名
  • There were accusations of plagiarism. 曾有过关于剽窃的指控。
  • He remained unruffled by their accusations. 对于他们的指控他处之泰然。
13 segregation SESys     
  • Many school boards found segregation a hot potato in the early 1960s.在60年代初,许多学校部门都觉得按水平分班是一个棘手的问题。
  • They were tired to death of segregation and of being kicked around.他们十分厌恶种族隔离和总是被人踢来踢去。
14 spacious YwQwW     
  • Our yard is spacious enough for a swimming pool.我们的院子很宽敞,足够建一座游泳池。
  • The room is bright and spacious.这房间很豁亮。
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