We had a great afternoon at the new PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit at the National Building Museum! What a unique opportunity for any kid that likes to build, touch and play.
This new exhibit gives children the chance to use their imaginations and build anything they want using a variety of materials from big to small.
There is a large table with thousands of building pieces — and a large space dedictaed to building with hundreds of large ‘blocks’. But — don’t expect your normal, everyday square block — these building materials comes in dozens of shapes and sizes — to get kids thinking about possibilities when putting their ideas into action.
There is also a huge wall with a digital blocks projected on it., Step onto a special carpet and your figure is silhouetted in the digital screen and you can break down the virtual walls!
Additionally, there are interesting exhibits of construction toys and building sets from the past 130 years or so — dating back to the late 1800’s. Don’t worry Mom and Dad — they are in enclosed displays so kids can’t touch. Also, there is a section for kids to sit and play with Lincoln Logs and similar toy sets.
You cant beat the price — $8/adult and $5/child. Located on F Street in NW, The National Building Museum, next to the Government Accounting office, has Street parking with a 2 hour limit is abundant around the building.
I highly recommend the drive. It took us 35 minutes from the Greater Dulles Area and was worth it. I would recommend going during the week, as you can see — there were no crowds (the museum is open Monday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm).
Kudos to the National Building Museum for placing this family-centric exhibit next to the restrooms and having antibacterial gel stations upon exit.
The exhibit is open until November 18, 2014.
Via the National Building Museum website:
Research has shown how important play can be to a child’s development. But, play is not only for kids. Through this exhibition, visitors begin to see the connections between play, design, and the work of building professionals like architects and engineers.
Only at the National Building Museum can the concepts of PLAY, WORK, and BUILD be combined to create a new exhibition that will enthrall kids and adults alike. Conceived in partnership with the internationally renowned design firm the Rockwell Group, this exhibition combines a presentation of the Museum’s world-class Architectural Toy Collection, a hands-on block play area, and an original digital interactive that allows visitors to fill an entire wall of the exhibition with virtual blocks—and then knock them down.
After viewing a selection of construction toys from the Museum’s collection, from the familiar Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs to the lesser-known Bumpalow House and Ringa-Majigs, visitors have the opportunity to reconfigure their environment and design their own course of play with individually-sized blocks. In the subsequent gallery, visitors are invited to work individually to reimagine their small-scale structures created into oversized structures using supersized foam blocks or to work in groups to design and build something entirely new. Whether visitors choose the tactile experience with the small or large blocks, the virtual block-play experience, or all of the activities, children and adults alike are encouraged to participate in unstructured, imaginative play that exercises muscles and minds.
Praise for PLAY WORK BUILD
“Parents and children may want to consider putting down the video games and picking up the building blocks. A new exhibit on playing with blocks has opened in Washington, D.C.”—USA TODAY
“PLAY WORK BUILD is both an extension and an elaboration on one of the museum’s primary missions, to introduce children to the building process. The second-floor gallery is now overrun by thousands of pieces of blue foam, some sized for building models and some sized to build forts.”—The Washington Post On Parenting
“Collaborative activity, physical movement, and no resemblance to a typical playground are the three major themes of this endeavor.”—Curbed DC
“The National Building Museum already hosts programs for teens interested in pursuing design as a career, but an upcoming exhibition intends to inspire a younger generation of architects, builders, and engineers.”—Residential Architect
The Atlantic Cities went behind the scenes to learn more about the “nation’s biggest architectural toy collection.”