Local Historian Plans Weekend Pop-Up Museum at Talbot Avenue Bridge in Silver Spring

Local Historian Plans Weekend Pop-Up Museum at Talbot Avenue Bridge in Silver Spring

Display will educate visitors about history of communities around the crossing

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Talbot Avenue bridge

Via David Rotenstein

This weekend, a pop-up museum on the historic Talbot Avenue bridge in Silver Spring will invite visitors to reflect on the community’s segregated past and its connection to today.

Local historian David Rotenstein said he hopes Saturday’s event will be the first in a series of temporary installations on the bridge, slated for removal to clear the way for construction of the light-rail Purple Line. The pop-up museum, which will be on the bridge from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., will include panels covering the history of the structure, once a link between segregated communities.

“People who have visited it have a very visceral reaction to the space,” Rotenstein said. “It was literally in between white, suburban Silver Spring and the African-American suburb that was on the other side of the tracks.”

Residents of the neighborhood around the bridge waged a long battle to save it from demolition. The Maryland Transit Administration is still planning to remove it, but will salvage some of the bridge’s steel girders and install them alongside the Capital Crescent Trail, The Washington Post has reported.

Rotenstein said the bridge is a particularly moving reminder of the past because of its rich symbolism, both as a dividing line and a point of connection.

“This bridge has a substantial attachment among the African-Americans who live in Lyttonsville and related communities. It’s a very powerful part of their community’s biography,” he said.

Rotenstein said he also hopes the display sparks conversations about knocking down barriers that separate people in Montgomery County today. He said he’ll be on hand along with several longtime residents of the area to interact with people during the event.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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