Even though the outside of this museum appears to be an average-looking (but large) brick building, the interior will completely surprise you, especially with the amount of immense, open space. There is a three-foot-high terra cotta frieze that surrounds the outside of the building depicting Civil War soldiers, and the inside has four massive columns that reach nearly fifteen stories tall. The brickwork and detail are just incredible. Even if you don’t know or care much about the architecture and design of late 19th-century buildings, this museum might inspire some passion. And it also has an interesting history as the location of many presidential inaugural balls.
“America's premier cultural institution”
The National Building Museum is a museum of "architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning". It was created by an act of Congress in 1980, and is a private non-profit institution; it is adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the Judiciary Square Metro station. The museum hosts various temporary exhibits in galleries around the spacious Great Hall. Past exhibitions have highlighted innovation in parking garages; green building and sustainable design; architects, including Eero Saarinen and Marcel Breuer; and tools as art. Exhibitions have included Designing Tomorrow: America's World Fairs of the 1930s; LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition, which includes 15 iconic buildings including the Empire State Building and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater made entirely of LEGO bricks; and Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière, a retrospective on American Art Deco artist Hildreth Meiere.
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The National Building Museum
- Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
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