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Teens & Young Adults

The National Building Museum showcases achievements in architecture, design, planning, construction, and engineering. Teen Programs at the Museum inspire students to examine the people, processes, and materials that create buildings and places. As part of our mission, we have created in-depth, multi-week education programs to teach middle and high school students, ages 12 to 18, from the Washington, D.C. metro area, to use the built environment as a classroom for developing skills in critical and creative thinking, problem solving, analysis, evaluation, and teamwork.

We currently offer three programs for D.C. metro area teens:

CityVision students and staff explore the Penn Quarter neighborhood.
Photo by Museum staff


Created in 1993, CityVision is a semester-long program that prepares students to become active participants in shaping their communities. The program provides fundamental knowledge of the design process to approximately 70 D.C. middle school students each year and encouraging them to identify issues of concern in their communities and develop the skills to affect positive change.

Read about CityVision.

IWWL participants explore DC through the lens of a camera.
Photo by Museum staff

Investigating Where We Live

Created in 1996, Investigating Where We Live is a five-week summer program in which students interpret Washington, D.C. neighborhoods through photography, creative writing, and original artwork. Each summer, approximately 30 students spend their Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays exploring neighborhoods and developing an exhibition to be on view at the Museum. In 2013 Investigating Where We Live was a recipient of the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award given by the President's Committee on the Arts & Humanities.

Read about Investigating Where We Live.

Check out our blog from past Investigating Where We Live sessions.

A DAP student focuses, as he assembles a wooden chair.
Photo by Museum staff

Design Apprenticeship Program

Created in 2000, the Design Apprenticeship Program builds upon the Museum's two other teen programs, CityVision and Investigating Where We Live. Each year, approximately 50 new and returning teen designers work alongside industry professionals to design and construct a project of their own conception.

Read about the Design Apprenticeship Program.

Want to participate in CityVision, Investigating Where We Live, or Design Apprenticeship Program? Learn how you can get involved.

Are you interested in helping teens learn about design and the built environment? Find out you can help.

Are you a parent or a teacher interested in learning more about our teen programs? Contact us at


The National Building Museum’s teen outreach programs are generously supported by The William Randolph Hearst Foundation; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; Hattie M. Strong Foundation; MARPAT Foundation, Inc.; Teknion; Forest City Washington; Clark Charitable Foundation; McGraw Hill Financial; the American Society of Interior Designers; The Tower Companies; and an anonymous donor. Geppetto Catering, Inc. is the official Meal Provider for Teen Outreach Programs at the National Building Museum.