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OPENS MAY 16

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The old Carnegie Library building at Mount Vernon Square has offered many uses for D.C. residents: It housed the city’s Central Library until 1970, and in more recent years it was an impressive yet affordable event stage for B-list college-party promoters (while the parking lot served as a rest stop for nodding junkies and area homeless). But with the new convention center coming in just across the street, the site was in need of more upscale, permanent tenants. Now the building has been reincarnated as the City Museum of Washington, D.C.—the only museum dedicated to the community history of our fair city. The 60,000-square-foot space now includes both permanent and changing exhibits, a multimedia show, an education center, a cafe, a museum store, and an archaeology lab, set to open in the fall. Highlights include a lighted floor map of the District and “Sandlots to Stadiums: Sports and Community in Washington,” an exhibition that recalls the days of baseball on the White House lawn and at Griffith Stadium. There are also books, maps, photographs, and other city memorabilia on display, including a shovel from the 1969 Metro-construction groundbreaking (pictured) and a teapot from the Wormley Hotel. Street folks and college kids may mourn the loss of their old haunt, but a museum about Washington’s neighborhoods and history is a much-needed addition to those huge exhibit halls down on the Mall. The City Museum opens to the public at 10 a.m., Friday, May 16 (see City List for accompanying events), at the Carnegie Library Building, 801 K St. NW. $3-$8. (202) 785-2068. (Sarah Godfrey)