The National Building Museum's permanent collection illuminates the building process and documents changing architectural styles and construction techniques. The current collections contain approximately 75,000 photographic images, 68,000 architectural prints and drawings, 100 linear feet of documents, and 10,000 objects, including material samples, architectural fragments, and building toys.
American Brick Collection
The American Brick Collection contains 1,500 bricks, which total to about 10,000 pounds. Each brick is stamped with the manufacturer’s name, logo, or hometown.
Architectural Toy Collection
Acquired by the Museum in 2006, the Architectural Toy Collection is one of the largest and most sophisticated of its kind held in public trust within the United States.
Ernest L. Brothers Interior Design Collection
Ernest L. Brothers was a highly successful and sought-after interior designer whose grandest projects were undertaken for New York and Newport elites in the second quarter of the twentieth century. Photographs, drawings, and luxuriant watercolors attest to Ernest L. Brothers’ artistry and his now underappreciated specialty of creating historically accurate wood-paneled rooms.
Chest of Tools
The chest is a carpenter's tool chest from the late 19th to early 20th century and is one of those for a carpenter skilled in doing finish work and moldings.
Archival Material of Charles M. Goodman
This collection includes both 2D and 3D elements from the Dorothy S. Goodman Revocable Trust containing materials from her husband, Charles M. Goodman.
Raymond Kaskey Collection
Acquired by the Museum in 2013, the Raymond Kaskey collection features many elements of the sculptor and architect's design process for his public art for civic buildings and memorials.
S.H. Kress & Company Collection
Consisting of 6,000 architectural plans, 7,000 photographs, and 50 linear feet of documents, this collection presents a record of nearly a century of building activity for the Kress Five-and-Dimes, a variety store which once spanned the country.
Robert C. Lautman Photography Collection
Donated to the Museum in 2007, Lautman's outstanding collection of more than 30,000 prints, transparencies, and negatives documents American architectural trends during the second half of the twentieth century and provides a remarkable record of the D.C. area's growth and development.
Monumental Construction & Moulding Company Panels (Epstein Collection)
This collection is comprised of 83 double-sided decorative wooden panels of various heights and widths to which hundreds of historically significant ornamental architectural elements are affixed.
Northwestern Terra Cotta Collection
Consisting of 50,000 working drawings, this collection demonstrates the extensive and varied use of ornamental terra cotta though out the U.S. in the first half of the twentieth century.
Architect William T. Partridge was hired by the National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1928 to advise on the ongoing implementation of the McMillan Plan. In the mid-1930s, he oversaw the creation of two large models of Washington’s Monumental Core showing both existing and proposed buildings.
Pension Building Collection
The historic home of the National Building Museum stands today as one of the great American buildings of the nineteenth century and one of Washington, D.C.'s most spectacular works of public architecture.
James Stewart Construction Collection
James Stewart & Company was one of North America's most accomplished and longest-standing contractors. The collection holds leather-bound photo albums chronicling work undertaken by the firm for such powerhouse clients as the Pennsylvania Railroad, Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, General Electric, General Motors, Union Carbide, and Grumman.
Stewart Brothers Photography Collection
The Stewart Brothers Collection contains thousands of negatives of buildings and construction sites in and around the D.C. area.
Terra Cotta pieces from the Steuben Building, Chicago
These decorative terra cotta pieces are from the restoration of the Steuben Building in Chicago, IL.
Turner City Collection
This collection holds renderings commissioned annually by Turner Construction Company showing a composite cityscape featuring all of the firm’s projects that year.
Wooden Molds for Plaster Ornament
This collection consists of wooden molds that were once used to create plaster ornamentation for buildings.
The Woolworth Collection contains photographs of store interiors and exteriors, financial records, annual reports, store operations manuals, and other company publications and correspondence that reveal how the company was run.
Wurts Brothers Photography Collection
Starting as general commercial photographers in the 1890s, the Wurts Brothers quickly began specializing in architectural photography. They captured a variety of subjects, centered mostly on the East Coast for nearly a century (1890s through 1970).
The National Building Museum does not maintain a reference collection or general reference materials; however, some collections may be available for study by researchers through appointment only. Read our frequently asked questions or submit a research request.
Request a digital reproduction of an object or photograph in our collection.