Record Unit 9538, Kinard, John,1936-1989. interviewee, John R. Kinard Interview, 1987
John R. E. Kinard (1936-1989), was the Director of the Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) in Washington, D. C., from its founding in 1967 until his death in 1989. Kinard was born and raised in the Washington, D. C., area and attended Howard University briefly before receiving degrees from Livingstone College in 1960 and the Hood Theological Seminary in 1963 in Salisbury, North Carolina.
An ordained minister, Kinard was an Assistant Pastor at John Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Washington, D. C., for 22 years. He also participated in Operation Crossroads Africa in 1962 and the Poverty Program at the Southeast Neighborhood House in Washington, D. C., where he established close ties with the African government and private agencies.
While working as an interpreter and escort for the U. S. State Department, he was introduced to Mrs. Marion Conover Hope, an active member of the Greater Anacostia People's Corporation. Through Mrs. Hope's influence, he found himself the first Director of the Smithsonian Institution's new Anacostia Neighborhood Museum (ANM) in July, 1967, a position which he retained until his death in 1989.
Begun as the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, an experimental bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, ANM was the first community-based institution founded under the aegis of a major institution and became the prototype for other small neighborhood museums. It was developed as part of a broader plan to encourage museum access to a diverse cultural and socioeconomic group of museum goers. As a community-based museum, ANM sought to address issues of importance to its local constituency, as reflected in early exhibits. With the expansion of its mission, the museum's research and exhibits programs came to reflect its commitment to African American history and culture. In 1987, its name was changed to the Anacostia Museum to reflect more correctly its growth and development from a neighborhood museum to a pioneer in producing both in-house and traveling exhibits that link the African American experience in this country with that of the dominant culture. In 2006, it was renamed the Anacostia Community Museum to reflect its role as a model community museum.