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Where to go if you want to see 24,708,421* museums / Green Community

09 Nov 2009


I recently flew down to Washington, D.C. for what might turn into a biennial pilgrimage of whirlwind museum peeping. In 2007, there was the D.W. Reynolds Visitor Center at Mount Vernon (disclosure: designed by the firm that employs me), the International Spy Museum, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Postal Museum, and the National Building Museum.

This year, 2009, there was the National Museum of American History, the Newseum, the National Archives, the National Museum of Natural History, and—again!—the Building Museum.

(The museums I walked into but then turned and walked right back out again, there were a few of you: I’m sorry. Maybe next year?)

I hope to share more highlights of my trip soon, but first, let’s talk about that Building Museum, the one that convinced me to pay a repeat visit despite my time in D.C. being so limited. Since it’s a little under-the-radar, off the mall, it’s blissfully quiet—your shoes will echo in the stairways. The building is gorgeous and the temporary exhibits, the ones that I’ve seen, have all been thoughtfully and skillfully designed. House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage is definitely worth a peak for its fascinating subject matter, clear content hierarchy, and pretty graphics.

But it was the Green Community exhibit—designed by Brooklyn, NY-based firms MATTER (exhibit design and fabrication) and mgmt. design (graphics), with media design by Potion—that I was particularly taken with. I loved the striking cylinders full of dirt, wood chips, and shredded paper; the swirling pattern of cork on the floor; the clean, crisp lightbox graphics; and the simple timeline that spanned the length of the room, punctuated with materials like coal and bottle caps. Nice:







* 24,708,421, give or take…

Updated July 25, 2010 with credit information.


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