The National Park Service is proposing to permanently install two exterior interpretive wayside panels in front of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Historic Site in the Shaw community. The site was named after Dr. Woodson the “Father of Black History” and is located in a heavily trafficked urban community near Rhode Island Avenue, the Washington Convention Center, and several neighborhood schools. The panels will stand on the sidewalk in an unobstructed location in front of the home of Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the future visitor complex area at 1540 9th Street which the NPS currently owns and plans to restore and operate as a staffed park unit with tours and visitor service.
The two panels are to be placed in front of the historic site on the sidewalk, in approximate alignment with the projection of the existing entry stairs. Two alternative locations for the panels are being considered. The first location is centered between the two window bays in front of the Woodson home. The second location is centered between the two window bays in the adjacent NPS property at 1540 9th Street, NW, which would be in between the historic home and the future entrance to the visitor services facility to be located at 1542 9th Street, NW. Because it will be several years before the visitor services facility is opened, the NPS prefers the first alternative, to locate the signs directly in front of the Woodson home, so that there is a more direct and straightforward connection to the historic home.
This project seeks to provide a limited interpretive experience for pedestrians, visitors and the tour groups who visit the site so that they may understand how Dr. Woodson, the Shaw community, and the organization he founded, Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, changed the nation and world. Until the home is completely restored and opened to the public, these wayside panels will interpret the site’s significance. The National Park Service hopes to install the panels between the second week of January 2012 before the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or by the end of February 2012, Black History Month, which Woodson started in 1926.