The National Building Museum is one of the most unique cultural establishments in Washington, DC, and well worth a visit on your next trip. Located on F Street, it is dedicated to celebrating architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning with a collection of permanent exhibits, rotating new ones, and a fantastic calendar of events.
These are some examples of what we love most at The National Building Museum.
The Building Itself
Washington is no stranger to grand edifices, but the Building Museum is truly a masterpiece. Constructed in 1887 as the federal Pension Bureau, it’s got a massive central atrium with towering columns.
Tiny recreations of grand constructions, the museum’s collection of over 100 architectural models is one of its most interesting and popular attractions. This collection was built for over a century, having models added from 1905 to 2010, showing works by Gehry Partners, I.M. Pei and other architectural giants.
The American Brick Collection
The American Brick Collection takes a close and intimate look at one of the most popular and widely used construction materials in the history of mankind. The collection contains 1,800 bricks, most of which are from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Each brick is stamped with the manufacturer’s name and logo, providing a fascinating insight into the literal building blocks of our country.
Philip Hubert Frohman Architectural Drawings
Philip Hubert Frohman was the famous architect who designed the Washington National Cathedral among many other historic buildings. This collection features over 4,000 historic architectural drawings from Frohman, as well as over 600 photographs and promotional renderings for projects he produced.
An ongoing exhibition series brings fascinating, structure-focused shows to Washington. Some of the more intriguing current exhibitions include Secret Cities, which is an immersive look into the architecture and planning of the Manhattan Project, and Evicted, an eye-opening look into low-income housing and eviction in the U.S.
The National Building Museum also has a fun and well-curated events calendar, which is filled with tours, readings, and unique events like yoga in the museum’s Great Hall.
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