The Humanities Truck is a fully customized delivery truck that serves as an experimental mobile platform for collecting, exhibiting, preserving, and expanding dialogue around the humanities. Using the truck, we seek to mobilize the humanities and democratize the sharing and production of knowledge by bringing together scholars at American University with community residents across Washington, D.C. Together we can collect, create, interpret, and curate stories that can return to the communities they originated from and circulate throughout the metropolitan region.
The truck’s custom-design creates a unique space for facilitating participatory, cultural, and educational experiences in the humanities. It has the capacity to function as a recording studio, workshop and maker space, and exhibit and performance venue. People can engage with the truck’s interior and exterior spaces. The exterior features powerful speakers, an all-weather flat screen television, and brackets for attaching a 120” roll-down movie screen for film showings. The magnetized exterior wall of the truck can serve as an exhibition space or also be used to facilitate workshops. The interior of the truck is sound-insulated, equipped with air-conditioning, a second flat screen tv, and ceiling speakers. It is modular and flexible as tables and shelving can be easily added and moved. The space can function as a recording studio for doing oral histories, a digitization station, a workshop space, or a pop-up exhibit gallery. The Humanities Truck is a project through American University, made possible with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
As we confront a global pandemic and are restricted from planning in-person, community events, our current initiative aims to record social responses to COVID-19. We’re asking how individuals and communities across the metropolitan region are building and sustaining community networks in response to the crisis.