Monday, October 27, 2014

Postcards From Washington D.C. - National Building Museum

National Building Museum
My husband has been a do-it-yourselfer ever since the early days of our home ownership, mostly because having four young mouths to feed didn't leave a lot of cash left over to pay repair and renovation contractors.  So, I thought he might enjoy visiting another of D.C.'s hidden museum gems, the National Building Museum.

After a 28 minute metro ride, we exited at the Judiciary Square stop, and paid our $8.00 per person entrance fee into the museum.  Oh yes, and subjected ourselves to the customary airport type security check of our bags and persons.

The National Building Museum is America's leading cultural institution devoted to building and design.  Visitors from around the world learn about everything to do with architecture, engineering, and construction.  This landmark building has held all sorts of official gatherings, including many of the presidential inaugural balls, mainly because of its large size and stately features.

View of the Great Hall
Before visiting any of the six gallery exhibits, we joined up with a small group to take a one hour docent led tour of the building itself.  This tour took gave us access to all the floors, including the private fourth floor.

View of the Great Hall from the fourth floor walkway
We learned all about the history of the building, and viewed some of the building's unique architectural aspects.

Fountain in the Great Hall

Design at the top of the columns
Busts in the highest level
Design on the building exterior
The day we visited this museum, there were six active exhibit galleries, along with various other programs for adults and families.

In "Designing For Disaster," we saw clearly how design can, and does, reduce our risk and increase our resiliency to the most destructive forces of nature.  From seismic retrofits and safe rooms to firebreaks and floodplain management, this gallery showcases how regional, community, and individual preparedness are the best antidotes to disaster.  It was kinda fun to build small model houses and then turn on the tiny hurricane simulator to see which homes would blow away.

In "Cool and Collected:  Recent Acquisitions," the museum's storage room opened to the public with a display of some special objects.  Dozens of objects from the Museum's collection - from a 9 foot tall statue to a tiny dollhouse chair - illustrate the various ways we can learn about architecture and design.  I always get a kick out of some of those very detailed doll houses and their furnishings.

One of the building method displays
The "House and Home" exhibit featured an extensive array of photographs, objects, models, and films that take visitors on a tour of houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present.  Here we explored American domestic life and residential architecture.

Basically this museum had everything relative to buildings, how to build them, and things that are inside them.  I particularly enjoyed looking at the collection of vintage things that can be found in many people's homes.  I guess I didn't realize that some of MY stuff is really that old.

Next:  The Crime Museum

1 comment:

  1. You are having an enjoyable and educational trip. You can't help but learn something when visiting those museums.