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Ever since MTV finished filming The Real World DC last fall, Housing Complex has wondered what would become of the beautiful red-brick mansion that hosted it. Well, first HealthHIV took the top two floors. Then, it sounded like owner Doug Jemal was wooing a restaurant for the ground level. Today, Bisnow is reporting that the former home of Josh, Callie, and Mike will soon be occupied by a museum devoted to the ongoing horror of forced labor camps in China.
Nicole Kempton, Washington Director of the Laogai Foundation, tells Housing Complex that the museum has outgrown its digs at 11th and M Street—only a few visitors a day currently come through their space in between downtown and Logan Circle. They started looking for something in Chinatown, but this space was too attractive to pass up, with the number of curious onlookers who already walk by.
“If we can get even a tenth of people who come by to take photos outside the Real World house to come inside, we’ll be in good shape,” Kempton says, noting that they will move in over the next three or four months.
The Laogai museum, underwritten by the Yahoo! Human Rights Fund, chronicles the experience of some 40 million people who have passed through the Communist regime’s labor camps since the 1950s, millions of whom have died. Kempton likened it to the Holocaust, which already has a museum in D.C.—except the persecution continues.
“Our museum really should be in Beijing or Shanghai, but can’t be,” Kempton says. “This is a system that is still going on.”
Well, this way, they’re only a few blocks away from the Chinese Embassy.
Photo from flickr user William Couch.