National Building Museum

National Building Museum Since 1980, the only U.S. institution dedicated to the world we design and build and its power to shape our lives, our communities, and our future.
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The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. Transform your understanding of the history and impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, and design. Through exhibitions, educational programs, and special events, we welcome all ages to experience stories about the built world and its power to shape our lives, communities, and futures. The Museum resides in one of the most awe-inspiring places in Washington, D.C., with a soaring Great Hall, colossal 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns, and a 1,200-foot terra cotta frieze.

Operating as usual

Happy New Year! Let’s hope that 2021 is completely different than 2020!
01/01/2021

Happy New Year! Let’s hope that 2021 is completely different than 2020!

12/31/2020

Our year-end campaign is ending soon! If you’re able, we hope you’ll donate. Your support helps us do great things.

tinyurl.com/y7xgkeo7

12/31/2020

We’re almost to our fundraising goal! Will you help us make it the rest of the way? Donate at the link below:
https://tinyurl.com/y7xgkeo7

Thank you to everyone who has supported the National Building Museum this year! There is still time to make a gift to th...
12/30/2020

Thank you to everyone who has supported the National Building Museum this year! There is still time to make a gift to the Annual Fund in these final days of 2020. Your donation will help us reach our goal of raising $50,000 by December 31, which will be matched by members of our Board of Trustees. We are grateful for your generosity this holiday season.
https://tinyurl.com/y7xgkeo7

At the National Building Museum, visitors can play with life-size blocks, learn about what makes a house a home, and exp...
12/29/2020

At the National Building Museum, visitors can play with life-size blocks, learn about what makes a house a home, and explore objects from our collection. Your contribution helps us do great things. Donate today:
https://tinyurl.com/y7xgkeo7

12/21/2020
Visitor Center Preview

We've had this project on our minds for more than a decade and are so happy to share a sneak preview of our brand new visitor center! Located on the NW side of the first floor, this welcoming space came together with the help of our awesome architectural team. Learn more in this video, and can't wait for you to see it in person!

Your support helps us put on important exhibitions like Murals That Matter: Activism Through Public Art. Please consider...
12/21/2020

Your support helps us put on important exhibitions like Murals That Matter: Activism Through Public Art.
Please consider making a donation this holiday season: https://tinyurl.com/y7xgkeo7

This holiday season consider making a contribution in honor of our landmark anniversary and help us reach our goal by De...
12/18/2020

This holiday season consider making a contribution in honor of our landmark anniversary and help us reach our goal by December 31. Your generosity at this crucial moment will ensure the National Building Museum remains an essential institution for decades to come.
https://tinyurl.com/y7xgkeo7

Today, tomorrow, and Saturday are you last chances forin-person shopping at our gift shop this year! Find store hours an...
12/17/2020

Today, tomorrow, and Saturday are you last chances for
in-person shopping at our gift shop this year! Find store hours and COVID-19 safety here: https://www.nbm.org/visit/

Today at noon: Learn about MASS Design Group's incredible work with this International Masonry Institute webinar. RSVP: ...
12/15/2020

Today at noon: Learn about MASS Design Group's incredible work with this International Masonry Institute webinar. RSVP: https://info.imiweb.org/12152020-jib-twfmdg-fapte

Then get ready to see our exhibition when the Museum reopens in 2021!

https://www.nbm.org/exhibition/justice-is-beauty/

Join us for a special webinar today with the National Building Museum and MASS Design Group to hear about how architecture promotes justice, healing, and human dignity. Register: https://lnkd.in/gtDas34.

12/15/2020
National Building Museum Shop

National Building Museum Shop

Last chance in 2020 to visit our gift shop is this weekend! We've got something for everyone this holiday season.

Preview the catalog in the flipbook or download a PDF that includes live links to the products on the Museum Shop website. Happy shopping!

go.nbm.org/shopcatalog2021

Thank you to everyone who joined us for some part of our 40th Anniversary celebration last week. We appreciate your supp...
12/14/2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for some part of our 40th Anniversary celebration last week. We appreciate your support!

We hope you enjoyed the variety of free public programs and all of the great daily content on our social media channels. Last week's programs were recorded and will soon be available on our website for everyone to enjoy.

Thank you to CoStar Group and all of our 40th Anniversary donors for making our week of free programming possible.

The National Building Museum’s exhibitions present original and challenging perspectives on the creation, construction, ...
12/12/2020

The National Building Museum’s exhibitions present original and challenging perspectives on the creation, construction, and consequences of the built environment. A collaboration with Matthew Desmond, professor of sociology at Princeton University, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, the exhibition "Evicted" (2018-2019) offered an immersive experience bringing our visitors into the world of low-income renter eviction. With unique design elements and striking graphics, the exhibition challenged adults and youth to face the enormity of a difficult subject, while providing context and a call to action. Senator Elizabeth Warren toured the exhibition in 2019 with curator Sarah Leavitt.

Our collections tour video is live! Enjoy it at https://www.nbm.org/collections.The National Building Museum’s permanent...
12/12/2020

Our collections tour video is live! Enjoy it at https://www.nbm.org/collections.

The National Building Museum’s permanent collection illuminates the building process and documents changing architectural styles and construction techniques. The current archive contains more than 350,000 items, including documents, drawings, photographs, models, material samples, building fragments, tools, and toys.

And since this amazing trove is not available for public viewing, the Museum is pleased to offer a sneak peek. This behind-the-scenes tour with Registrar Nancy Bateman and Assistant Registrar Laura Hicken offers a look at some of the many items we've acquired over our first four decades, all of which are housed at the Museum.

• Introduction
• Washington National Cathedral
• Ernest L. Brothers Interior Design
• Underground
• S.H. Kress and Company
• Robert C. Lautman Photography
• Raymond Kaskey
• Architectural Toys
• Pension Building [The Museum's Home!]

On December 12, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed an act of Congress that established a museum with a still-unique pur...
12/11/2020

On December 12, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed an act of Congress that established a museum with a still-unique purpose: to inspire curiosity and knowledge about the world we design and build. Since that time, the National Building Museum has welcomed millions of visitors and showcased a wide variety of critically acclaimed exhibitions and educational programs. Tomorrow we will release a video about the Museum's illustrious history in celebration of its 40th Birthday!

For more information visit go.nbm.org/calendar

Tomorrow we are releasing a virtual interactive tour of our beautiful historic building for all to enjoy! Our home is th...
12/11/2020

Tomorrow we are releasing a virtual interactive tour of our beautiful historic building for all to enjoy! Our home is the Pension Building, a National Historic Landmark in the heart of Washington, D.C., designed by Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs.

Completed in 1887 to house the U.S. Pension Bureau and honor the service of Union veterans of the Civil War, the building is a significant achievement of architecture and engineering. The Great Hall is especially notable, an extraordinary public space that attracts visitors from across the country and around the world. For more information visit go.nbm.org/calendar

It's not unusual for notable people to stop by the Museum when we put on a major exhibition. In 2007, First Lady Laura B...
12/11/2020

It's not unusual for notable people to stop by the Museum when we put on a major exhibition. In 2007, First Lady Laura Bush visited "The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design" and spoke with architect Michelle Kaufmann. They sat on the porch of the Glidehouse, which Kaufmann had designed with many green and eco-friendly features.

12/11/2020
Alan Karchmer: The Architect's Photographer

Join us as photographer Alan Karchmer guides you through the Museum’s exhibition of his work: Alan Karchmer: The Architect's Photographer. This exhibition will be available to visitors when the Museum reopens in 2021.

Karchmer has risen to prominence in his field thanks to his skill in conveying the ideas and intentions of architects. Having earned a Master of Architecture himself, Karchmer uses his knowledge of the design process, coupled with his own artistic vision, to express the essence of a building.

The exhibition is generously supported by the Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation, The American Institute of Architects, David Crane and Jeffrey Wells, Edward J. Lenkin and Roselin Atzwanger, VMDO Architects, Chris Morrison FAIA and Dr. Michael Olding, SmithGroup, Jessica and Henry Townsend, Barbara and Herb Franklin, and Leers Weinzapfel Associates.

12/11/2020

We’re an hour away from today’s LIVE tour, right here on Facebook! Join us as photographer Alan Karchmer guides you through the Museum’s exhibition of his work: “Alan Karchmer: The Architect's Photographer.”

This exhibition will be available to visitors when the Museum reopens in 2021.

12/11/2020

Get ready for a behind-the-scenes tour!

Join us Saturday, December 12, at 10am when we'll publish an exclusive look at the museum's extensive collection. You'll get to see our historic toy collection, miniature buildings from around the world, and much more!

For more information visit go.nbm.org/calendar

Join us on Friday, December 11, at noon for an exhibition tour with architectural photographer Alan Karchmer, who has ri...
12/10/2020

Join us on Friday, December 11, at noon for an exhibition tour with architectural photographer Alan Karchmer, who has risen to prominence in his field thanks to his skill in conveying the ideas and intentions of architects. Having earned a Master of Architecture himself, Karchmer uses his knowledge of the design process, coupled with his own artistic vision, to express the essence of a building. In this live online event, Karchmer will guide viewers through the Museum's exhibition of his work, "Alan Karchmer: The Architect's Photographer." This exhibition will be available to visitors when the Museum reopens in 2021.

To learn more, visit go.nbm.org/calendar.

The National Building Museum’s Great Hall provides an incredible venue to showcase innovative work on the problems facin...
12/10/2020

The National Building Museum’s Great Hall provides an incredible venue to showcase innovative work on the problems facing the built environment. In 2015, we hosted the Global City Teams Challenge Expo. This event, created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and US Ignite, focused on the next generation of internet technology, or "the internet of things" as it would eventually be called. His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Kingdom of the Netherlands stopped by the expo as part of their visit to Washington.

The 2010s at the Museum brought summer after summer of fun and compelling installations. Our annual Summer Block Party h...
12/10/2020

The 2010s at the Museum brought summer after summer of fun and compelling installations. Our annual Summer Block Party had visitors playing miniature golf; finding their way to the center of a maple plywood maze; swimming in an ocean of recyclable plastic balls; enjoying an underwater slide among icebergs; playing instruments in an enormous pink-and-silver cardboard hive; climbing through caves; playing ping-pong and building pillow forts in a white fantasy house; and swinging on a hammock, listening to stories of summer from broadway stars, architects, and local notables.

To celebrate four decades of collecting, we are highlighting four artifacts, one that arrived in each decade.2010s: A ci...
12/10/2020

To celebrate four decades of collecting, we are highlighting four artifacts, one that arrived in each decade.

2010s: A circa-1988 ¼-scale maquette of Queen Charlotte by renowned sculptor and architect Raymond Kaskey. Kaskey designed this bronze statue—which stands 15 feet high in the completed version—to stand guard outside Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. To connect this 18th-century royal with the theme of air travel, Kaskey designed Charlotte to look as if she is being supported by the wind, like an airplane. In 2013, Kaskey donated his archives, including this maquette, to the Museum. The collection contains 380 objects and maquettes, 490 drawings, thousands of photographs, and 7 cubic feet of documents. Swipe through to see an original drawing of Queen Charlotte, a photograph of a model demonstrating Kaskey’s design process, and a photograph of Queen Charlotte in place circa 1990.

Since our establishment in 1980, the National Building Museum’s permanent collection has added objects, photographs, and drawings that represent different parts of the construction process and document architectural styles and techniques.

The Vincent Scully Prize, established in 1999 by the National Building Museum and named for the Yale professor whose tea...
12/09/2020

The Vincent Scully Prize, established in 1999 by the National Building Museum and named for the Yale professor whose teaching inspired so many individuals in the building fields, is presented annually in recognition of excellence in practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, preservation, and urban design. In 2005, HRH the Prince of Wales received the award for his commitment to creating urban areas with a human scale. The Prince also toured the Museum exhibition "A Building Tradition: The Work of the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts" (2005-2006).

The Museum's second decade brought ambitious exhibitions that looked at the built environment through the lens of social...
12/09/2020

The Museum's second decade brought ambitious exhibitions that looked at the built environment through the lens of social history. Post-war architecture, design, and planning was featured "World War II and the American Dream" (1994-95), while "Stay Cool! Air Conditioning America" (1999-2000) looked at the way the American skyline changed with the invention of air-conditioning.

Stay Cool! images courtesy Biber Architects

To celebrate four decades of collecting, we're highlighting four artifacts, one that arrived in each decade!2000s: A cir...
12/09/2020

To celebrate four decades of collecting, we're highlighting four artifacts, one that arrived in each decade!

2000s: A circa-2000 photograph of the Washington Monument by architectural photographer Robert C. Lautman. A stunning nighttime shot of architect Michael Graves’s mesh scaffolding around the structure, the photograph highlights the areas of his career that Lautman was best known for: capturing vantage points that yield unusually evocative images of his subjects and documenting historic preservation works. Lautman donated his outstanding collection of more than 30,000 prints, transparencies, negatives, and camera equipment to the Museum’s permanent collection in 2007. Check out one of the numerous cameras he used during his 50-year career.

Since our establishment in 1980, the National Building Museum’s permanent collection has added objects, photographs, and drawings that represent different parts of the construction process and document architectural styles and techniques.

Help us celebrate the National Building Museum’s 40th birthday with our first online Trivia Night on Wednesday, December...
12/08/2020

Help us celebrate the National Building Museum’s 40th birthday with our first online Trivia Night on Wednesday, December 9th at 7pm. YES! There are prizes!

Topics will include landmarks, parks, and famous buildings — including our historic home, of course! — architecture, design history, and more.

Register at go.nbm.org/calendar

Each year the National Building Museum presents the Honor Award to recognize individuals and organizations that have mad...
12/08/2020

Each year the National Building Museum presents the Honor Award to recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to our built heritage. The 2010 award celebrated civic innovators Perkins + Will, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, and the New Orleans Habitat Musicians Village.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voe-BHl4EOE

During our third decade, the Museum took on one of the most important issues of our time: climate change. As architects,...
12/08/2020

During our third decade, the Museum took on one of the most important issues of our time: climate change. As architects, planners, and designers were beginning to think about the built environment’s impact on the environment and develop solutions to reverse the damage done to our planet, the Museum presented "Big & Green" (2003, second image).

The appetite for exhibitions and programs on sustainability was immediately apparent, so we developed two additional exhibitions: "The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design" (2006-2007, third image) and "Green Community" (2008-2009, first image). Sustainability and resilience in our built world continues to be a thread throughout the Museum's exhibitions.

To celebrate four decades of collecting, we're highlighting four artifacts, one that arrived in each decade! Since our e...
12/08/2020

To celebrate four decades of collecting, we're highlighting four artifacts, one that arrived in each decade! Since our establishment in 1980, the National Building Museum’s permanent collection has added objects, photographs, and drawings that represent different parts of the construction process and document architectural styles and techniques.

1990s: Frank Gehry Sheet Metal Architectural Model and Original Concept Sketch. In 1988, the Museum presented ""Sheet Metal Craftsmanship: Progress in Building"", an exhibition inside of a Frank O. Gehry-designed pair of structures in the West Court of the Great Hall. Standing five stories high, the exhibition structures were designed to be a both a sculpture on a grand scale and to demonstrate the skill and ingenuity of union sheet metal workers and contractors.

Though the structure was disassembled, Gehry donated his original concept sketch and a model he built to the our permanent collection in 1992. Constructed from foamcore and held together with pins and glue, it was meant to be a working model, not a final presentation piece. However, even in its rough form you can see the elaborate design and genius behind the architecture.

Swipe through to see these important historical records of both Gehry’s process and the Museum’s own history, as well as the completed structure in the Great Hall.

Join us on Tuesday, December 8, at 11:00 am for a program about the Netherlands Carillon (bell tower), in Arlington, Vir...
12/07/2020

Join us on Tuesday, December 8, at 11:00 am for a program about the Netherlands Carillon (bell tower), in Arlington, Virginia. This tower was a 1950s gift from the people of The Netherlands to the people of the U.S. in thanks for aid during and after World War II.

Learn from Kay Fanning, Historian, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Thomas Jester, FAIA, Principal, Quinn Evans, and Diederik Oostdijk, author of Bells for America: The Cold War, Modernism, and the Netherlands Carillon in Arlington as they discuss the controversy surrounding the design and siting of the Carillon during the Cold War and the current renovations and upgrade of the tower to a Grand Carillon as part of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of The Netherlands by the U.S. military.

The program is moderated by Thomas Luebke, FAIA, Secretary, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Spotlight on Design is generously supported by the Revada Foundation of the Logan Family. Additional funding for this program is provided by the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

RSVP: go.nbm.org/calendar

Address

401 F St NW
Washington D.C., DC
20001

Metro Red Line to Judiciary Square

Telephone

(202) 272-2448

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