Encompassing the history, arts and culture of Palestinians, the Museum of the Palestinian People located at 1900 18th St. NW, near Dupont Circle is the newest museum to open in Washington, D.C. Work by contemporary Palestinian artists and artifacts illustrating the history and culture of Palestine will be displayed, including paintings by Palestinian artist Ahmed Hmeedat and a video, “Borders & Promises,” by renowned videographer, Haya Zaatry.
The museum will host its opening ceremonies on Saturday, June 15, from 3–7 p.m. and Sunday, June 16, from 12–6 p.m., featuring tea and Palestinian sweets, contemporary visual art, historic artifacts and performance. The reception will include folk dancers performing the Dabke (meaning “stamping of the feet”), an Arabic folk dance first created in the villages of the Levant to remember the line formed by villagers joining hands and stomping mud into place to repair cracks in dried mud walls. The dance and accompanying unified singing tell a story that solidifies communal identity and experience, while signifying, in this case, a new beginning.
Museum founder and executive director Bshara Nassar emphasized that each Palestinian story is different. He intends to capture, through the arts, diverse identities and faces of those who grew up in Palestine and the diaspora. Emphasizing that the Palestinians’ story “has been told by others; the museum will claim and share our story, instilling pride in those from Palestine and educating those in the diaspora.” He told me there are “many stories but one heart.” Come discover the heart of another culture or rediscover your own.
(A limited number of free tickets are available for the opening weekend at eventbrite.com/e/grand-opening-weekend-tickets-61647493312. For more information on the museum and the opening, visit mpp-dc.org)