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These Maryland high schoolers turned their struggles into a museum


Everyone knows that high school is hard: International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advance Placememt (AP) programs, college applications, resume building extra-curricular activities, first jobs, and boy/girl/friend drama are all persistent stresses on the high school mind.

Middle and high school students from around Maryland conceptualized and then created a "pop-up" museum featuring and explaining teen life and culture. The students largely come from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (B-CC), but they have welcomed others looking to participate.

It's called The Museum of Contemporary American Teenagers and according to their website, features exhibits on gender fluidity, ride-share harassment, and growing up with a fear of gun violence.

The students have been working on their exhibits for the past few months and the museum is expected to open it's doors on Thursday.

Circa got a first look at the museum before it opens it's doors on Thursday, December 7 for their opening night reception. We spoke to Ava Schwartz who is one of the student leaders of MOCAT. She walked us through the exhibits on the first floor and told us about the projects and their creators (you can see her and more about each exhibit in the Facebook Live.)

We also spoke David Lopilato who is the teacher spearheading the project. He said the students have played an integral part in getting the different pieces together and starting the difficult conversations about what the exhibits should look like and display.

Joanne Gernstein London was one of the parents volunteering at MOCAT when we arrived. She is a former curator for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum who has a sophomore at B-CC. London said she was amazed by the passion these students had for the project and that at a museum you usually have staff for lighting, cleaning, staging and curating, and these students have done it all by themselves in a matter of just a couple months.

Here is a first look at some of the exhibits from their Twitter page:

MOCAT is located in at 7756 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, Md. right now for December 8, 9, 14,15,16. They are open on weekdays from 5-9pmET adn Saturdays from 1-5pmET.

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