EL PASO, Texas (Border report) – The stated mission of the National Building Museum is to arouse curiosity about the world we design and build, even if it is a question of “structures of exclusion”.
One such building, the wall along the southern border, is the subject of a new exhibition on Saturday at museum in Washington, DC
“The Wall / El Muro: What is a Border Wall?” The exhibition examines border wall designs, architecture, planning and engineering as well as the effects of border walls and immigration.
The exhibition “seeks to challenge visitors with a unique exploration of the history and impact of the growth of the US-Mexico border infrastructure.”
“Borders are made up, imaginary places, they change over time and are monitored differently over time,” says Sarah A. Leavitt, curator of the exhibition. “What happens at our border is important and it was important to me to be able to tell this story. That’s what museums should be there for – to have these kinds of conversations. “
“The Wall” is an immersive, multimedia exhibition featuring a wide range of iconic photographs, artifacts, video and audio presented in English and Spanish.
Visitors will get up close and personal with a life-size section of the border fence that once stood between Calexico, California and Mexicali, Baja California.
The exhibition begins at a time when the country is grappling with an immigration emergency fueled by a historic influx of migrants on the southern border and a divided Congress arguing over the need for immigration reform and border security.
“Although border politics dominates the news, we want to provide a meaningful context for all visitors to better understand our southern border,” said Aileen Fuchs, President and General Manager of the National Building Museum.
“The Wall” also examines the experiences of migrants and shows belongings that have been left behind in the Sonoran Desert.
And for those with good hearing, a commissioned soundscape from the border in Otay Mesa, California features insects, wind, and the ubiquitous security drones.
The Wall also highlights other works of border wall-inspired art, including the award-winning Teeter Totter, who linked children in the United States and Mexico, and a video by students at the University of Texas at El Paso playing the violin for children on the other Side of the border.
The Wall is a year-long exhibition that opens on November 6, 2021 and ends on November 6, 2022 at the National Building Museum, 401 F. St NW, Washington, DC 20001.