Block by Block: Naming Washington

Exhibition Website

Jul 30 2021 - Jan 15 2024

The National Portrait Gallery explores the namesakes of Washington, D.C.’s streets, avenues, neighborhoods and other public spaces in the exhibition “Block by Block: Naming Washington.” 

Featuring reproductions of 16 portraits, drawn mostly from the museum’s collection, the exhibition will present the faces and biographies behind some of the city’s most familiar locations, introducing visitors to those whose names are part of the nation’s capital. 

The naming of streets and places creates a living history, connecting past to present. There is little doubt that naming a public space after a historical figure, in the nation’s capital no less, grants a degree of importance to those whose names have been chosen and, at times, evokes a reckoning with some of those eponyms and the legacies they leave behind. 

‘Block by Block’ prompts visitors to not only see D.C. a little differently, but also to approach the streets and spaces in their own communities with a renewed sense of curiosity.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

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