Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize–winning book about structural poverty will soon be an “immersive” exhibition at D.C.’s National Building Museum
Ever since Matthew Desmond won a Pulitzer Prize this year for his book on structural poverty and racial inequality, no mention of housing policy is complete without it. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, which also helped its author earned a MacArthur Fellow grant, traces the lives of tenants and landlords in Milwaukee. For housing advocates, Evicted is required reading.
And soon it will be required viewing. In April 2018, Evicted will be the subject of an exhibition at the National Building Museum. The show promises an “immersive” experience that will draw viewers into the enormity of evictions, from dealing with courts and landlords to security teams and moving companies to exposure and homelessness, according to the museum. “We are working with [Desmond] to develop the substance and the style of the exhibition,” says Chase Rynd, the Building Museum’s director.
Sarah Leavitt, a curator at the museum, is adapting the book as an exhibit. She is also responsible for “Architecture of an Asylum,” a show that explores the history of St. Elizabeth’s—a facility in Washington, D.C., that was originally named the “Government Hospital for the Insane” and opened as the first federally funded psychiatric ward in 1855. Writing in the Washington City Paper, Amanda Kolson Hurley (a CityLab contributor) called the historical survey on St. Elizabeth’s “ghostly” and “illuminating.”