B-CC High School. Credit: File photo

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students this week will host a large-scale “pop-up” museum aiming to educate the community about “toxic aspects of teen culture.”

Friday through Sunday, a makeshift museum created by B-CC students will operate in a former Bank of America branch on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda, an extension of a similar event last year.

This year, the museum will feature exhibits that demonstrate inequalities of the college admissions process, white and male privilege and effects of social media on youth.

Many of the exhibits will be in interactive game formats, according to teacher and organizer David Lopilato.

“All of the exhibits are based on authentic research by teens about teens,” Lopilato said. “The goal is to allow visitors a chance to step into the shoes of today’s teenagers to navigate the many forms of toxicity they grow up with today, from toxic stress, to toxic comparison culture, to toxic masculinity.”

Last year’s museum, which welcomed people into lives of teenagers, featured topics from gender fluidity to ride-share harassment, drew national media coverage and a visit from the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, there will be opening ceremonies including music and art showcases and a student-led film festival at 8 p.m.

There will be a host of Saturday afternoon panels, beginning with one about the “toxicity of the college admissions process,” in response to a national scandal in which dozens of people allegedly paid more than $25 million between 2011 and 2018 to bribe college officials and inflate applicants’ college entrance test scores and get favorable admissions recommendations.

Speakers will be founders of tutoring foundations, parents and consultants and the panel will run from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.


Other panels will focus on achievement and opportunity gaps between white and minority students in Montgomery County schools and gun violence.

Students began planning the museum before a list surfaced last month in which boys ranked girls in the school’s International Baccalaureate program based on physical appearance, but students have designed some of the museum exhibits in response to the list.

One female student whose name was on the list will lead a presentation about the rankings list and its impact on students involved.


Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com