Play Work Build at the NBM



02/15/2022 - 12/15/2022 All Day



National Building Museum
401 F Street NW

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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 an exhibition that enthralls 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 can 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.

Please note: Currently PLAY WORK BUILD operates in a very limited capacity: only 20 people in the exhibition at a time. The blocks and surfaces are sanitized regularly, and we ask all visitors to sanitize their hands and keep masks on at all times. Timed passes are included in your admission, and are available at the admission desk when you pick up your wristbands.