The National Building Museum (NBM) hosts a monthlong program that helps teens learn about the built environment by putting together an exhibition about a local neighborhood. Investigating Where We Live is open to middle and high school students in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area who are invited to explore, photograph, document, write about, and eventually create a museum-quality exhibition on a D.C. neighborhood. Anacostia, located along the banks of the Anacostia River, is this year’s exhibit focus.

Participants are each given a digital camera (that they get to keep) and taught the basics of taking architectural and artistic pictures. They then go out and explore the chosen neighborhood and record their experiences through photography and creative writing. The rest of the 12-session program is devoted to organizing the exhibition, which remains on display at the NBM for six to nine months after the program concludes. Students also blog, post on social media, and create a video about the entire process.

Investigating Where We Live: Connecting with Anacostia currently is on display at the NBM through May 27, 2013.