November DNA Meeting

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is hosting a community meeting Tuesday November 9th at Calvary Baptist Church (755 8th St NW) from 6:30 to 8PM.

The meeting will have the usual report by the MPD on Police Service Area 101. Giles Beeker, general manager of the soon-to-open Museum, a mixed-used facility with private and public events, will discuss his new business. Museum is located at 915 F St NW, the former location of Platinum nightclub. Rachel Allen, deputy director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and an MPD patrol officer from the Chinatown detail will discuss problems with misuse of the steps on the 7th Street side of the museum and possible solutions

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  1. 3

    Tony says

    I can’t attend this meeting tonight; however, maybe someone who is going can pass along this suggestion which I’ve always pondered. Why don’t they OPEN the 7th Street side as an additional entrance/exit with guards posted as they do on the F & G Street sides? If museum patrons are contantly going in and out of all possible entrances/exits, it seems to me that fewer folks would sit, play, loiter and dispose of their McDonalds trash on the 7th Street steps. If no Gallery guards are present to monitor the steps, we will cotinue to have this problem. Just my 2 cents.

  2. 4

    DNA says


    Thanks for the suggestion. According to the MPD, the problems on the steps starts at about 7:30 PM and extends until about midnight, which is when the museum is closed. Most of the litter — which is the least of the problems — occurs at night, along with the more serious problems of youths harassing passerby, fights, etc. The MPD has no issues about the steps during the day when the museum is open.

  3. 5

    Tony says


    Thanks for that information by the MPD. You make a good point that the museum is generally closed during the height of the problems; however, I think that the fact that the offending youth know that there is ZERO entry/exit AT ALL on the 7th Street side of the museum, still contributes to the problem. Even though the museum is closed late at night, I feel like they treat that side of the building as vacant or abandoned, so they assume they can use the steps in any way they see fit, because no one is ever going to enter or exit the building during open hours and of course, when closed. I just think that more focus needs to be directed to that side of the building during open AND closed hours. My philosophy is that if you don’t tell someone that they can’t do something, then they probably WILL – much like parking in DC. If there’s no sign, then they WILL park there. : )

  4. 8

    DNA says


    No, they can’t write littering tickets because the steps are on private property. If they see a serious crime taking place, they can take action. We had a good meeting tonight and there were a lot of ideas floated and discussed with the MPD and the Rachel Allen from the museum. The MPD is going to start meeting directly with the museum’s security staff and management, so we have created a direct dialogue between them. We’ll have a write-up of tonight’s meeting posted on our website in a couple of days.

    Terry Carter
    Downtown Neighborhood Association

  5. 9


    private? interesting…not to question, but my front steps are in public space so it makes me wonder where the lot line is. however if it is private then that would mean that the museum would have the right to eject people, no? great work on this issue, btw!

  6. 10

    DNA says

    Very good observation, Si. The museum’s property line is apparently right at the sidewalk line. And, yes, the museum has the right to eject people. What they usually do if there’s a problem is to ask for an MPD officer to back them up, “just in case.” Museum security are trained primarily to protect the building and its precious contents from being breached or damaged, not to deal with this kind of issue.

    Thanks for the kudos. Miles Groves started on this problem a year or ago with museum management and didn’t get very far. We picked it up again, after that Washington Post article in August, by contacting Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough. He was very responsive and assigned an undersecretary to address it, who got Rachel Allen involved. Now we’ve actually seen progress. We’ll stay on top of it!

    Terry Carter
    Downtown Neighborhood Association