Feel like bustin’ loose? DC will soon have a museum of go-go

Part of the area set aside for the go-go museum at Check It Enterprises. (Courtesy Check It Enterprises LLC)
Some of the space at the nearly-completed go-go museum will be performance space. (Courtesy Check It Enterprises LLC)
Outdoor event space and seating at the near-completion go-go museum. (Courtesy Check It Enterprises LLC)

Construction of a D.C. museum dedicated to go-go music is almost finished, and a fundraising drive is underway to help fund its final touches.

The Go-Go Music Museum is expected to open in late spring inside the Check It Enterprises building on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE in Anacostia.

“The one thing that will continue to bring people together is music, and go-go is the soul of our city,” said Ron Moten, an activist and entrepreneur, who is one of those working to bring the project to life. “If you don’t keep the history, the soul of the city will vanish.”

The two-level museum will include a cafe with food items named after go-go icons, a store offering go-go related merchandise, as well as indoor and outdoor performance spaces.

The museum also plans to offer cultural tourism workforce training and placement in areas, such as sound engineering and culinary arts.

The concept of a go-go museum in D.C. has been talked about for years, but the idea gained urgency after last year’s launch of Don’t Mute DC. The movement began as an effort to keep go-go music playing on the street outside a Shaw neighborhood CD and cellphone store, and it broadened into a fight against gentrification.

“After the energy from Don’t Mute DC came, a lot of artists came and said … let’s go ahead and finish it,” Moten said.

The museum project recently received a $50,000 grant from the city, and now a GoFundMe campaign is underway to raise another $25,000.

The additional money will help pay for the build-out of the exhibits, several kitchen items and a new sound system.

Moten said the process is underway to buy the Check It building and two buildings next door, with the eventual goal of having museum space, a workforce hub and artist housing.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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