City Cast

The Inside Scoop on DC’s New Go-go Museum

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on August 18
Rendering of the go-go bus.

Rendering of the go-go bus. (Courtesy of the Gogo Museum)

After being in the works for almost a decade, D.C. is finally getting a go-go museum, and it’s going to be just as organic and celebratory as the genre itself. The museum will be located on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Anacostia, but will also have a touring go-go bus. Senior curator Natalie Hopkinson tells us what to expect.

When can we expect the museum to open?

“Right now, they are putting the finishing touches on the mobile museum – a retrofitted metro bus with interactive exhibits inside and room on top for a go-go band to perform. The bus will pop up at different community events, festivals, and demonstrations. For the museum itself, we are shooting for next February.”

What type of exhibits will it have?

“The first one is the royal packet which traces the go-go beat from West Africa to D.C. and around the world. I am working on a collab with Howard University to document the roots of the go-go band Experience Unlimited. We talked to over 150 people who had been part of the band and created an oral history to display. We also have some interactive exhibits that look at the visual language of go-go through glow posters.”

Rendering of the go-go bus.

Chuck Brown, the father of go-go at the video shoot for his song "Block Party". (Dale Sundstrom/Flickr)

Besides the exhibit, what else will the museum offer?

“The go-go museum will be nothing like other D.C. museums. There will be live music and a recording studio where community members can learn the technical aspects of go-go. There will be space for people to talk about community issues and a café with African and Caribbean food. I think of it as a shrine where people can get the history, but also partake in the living culture that is gogo.”

While you’re waiting for the museum to open, learn a little more about go-go on our City Cast DC episode about it.

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