It's not your usual art exhibit: photos of a steel industry strike in 1919, photos of people pouring ketchup on demonstrators sitting at segregated lunch counters in the early '60s, and, from the same decade, pictures of welfare rights sit-ins.

So the book that is now being written, based on it, will not be the usual exhibit catalogue.

Madeleine Adamson and Seth Borgos of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, are spending their hot Washington summer writing a book that is part catalogue, part essay. It is called "This Mighty Dream"--the same title as ACORN's traveling exhibition, a look at social protest from 1870 to the present.

With the aid of a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, ACORN staff members assembled and, for the past year and a half, trucked the exhibit of photos, cartoons, engravings, newspapers and buttons from eastern colleges to South Dakota shopping malls. Now Adamson and Borgos are adapting the exhibit--which is still traveling--to the bindings of a book.

"It's not meant to be a comprehensive history," said Borgos of book and exhibit. "It's meant to be an interpretation . . . it tries to look at protest movements from the history of the organizer and focuses on how people were organized, what held them together, what problems they had, what were the successful strategies and what were the failures."

The two are writing the book for Routledge, Kegan, Paul, a British publishing company, which, according to Borgos, "does a lot of social science and people's history." They hope to be done by the end of the summer.