The National Building Museum’s exhibitions are temporarily closed until March 2020.
The Museum Shop remains open Mon–Sat 10 am–5 pm.

Deborah Moore Sorensen

202.272.2448, ext. 3701


Deborah Moore Sorensen has worked at the National Building Museum since 2002, and is currently developing the original exhibition On Location: Film and the American Landscape, which explores the evolving relationship between American cinema and architecture in the 20th century. For this exhibition, she was awarded a 2015-2016 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities, funded by the Warren Skaaren Film Research Endowment, and continues to conduct research in collections across the country.

Sorensen has managed numerous exhibitions, including Timber City (2016-17), Detroit is No Dry Bones: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara (2021-13), House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage (2009-10), David Macaulay: The Art of Drawing Architecture (2007-08), and Washington: Symbol and City (2004-2013). Sorensen co-curated exhibitions such as Green Schools (2013) and Designing Tomorrow: American World’s Fairs of the 1930s (2010-11)—for which she also adapted a version that traveled to Museum of the City of New York and The Henry Ford.

In addition to exhibitions work, Sorensen has published articles about architecture and film and collaborated with staff at the American Film Institute Silver Theater and Cultural Center since 2010 to curate annual exhibition-related film programs. Sorensen additionally served as programmer and co-host, with Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, for several programs at the National Building Museum.

Selected Publications

“MGM Modern,” Streamlines, Art Deco Society of Washington, Forthcoming

“Noir L.A.: Bunker Hill Lost and Found,”, October 1, 2013

“Looking Back, Looking Forward: Notes on Detroit,”, September 10, 2012

Taliesin Diary: A Year with Frank Lloyd Wright, author Priscilla J. Henken, ed. Sarah Leavitt. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012)

Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s, eds. Robert W. Rydell and Laura Burd Schiavo. (New Haven: Yale University Press and the National Building Museum, 2010)

“The Scene of the Crime: Parking Garages in the Movies,” NBM Online, February 16, 2010

“Bachelor Modern: Mid-Century Style in American Film,” Blueprints Magazine, 26, no. 2/3 (Spring/Summer 2008)

“Architecture on Screen,” Blueprints Magazine, 23, no. 4 (Fall 2005)

Film Programs

Small Stories on Film, October-November 2016 (AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center)

Designing for Disaster, May 2015 (AFI)

Overdrive: L.A. Modern, 1960-2000, February-March 2014 (AFI)

Overdrive: L.A. Noir, 1940-1959, November 2013 (AFI)

Reel Estate: The American Home on Film, February-April 2013 (AFI)

Things to Come: The City Imagined on Film, February-April 2012 (AFI)

Hollywood Modern: Film Design of the 1930s, February-March 2011 (AFI)

Guys, Guns & Garages in 1970s Film, February 2010 (National Building Museum)

Detour: The Landscape of Travel on Film, January-February 2009 (National Building Museum)

Bachelors, Secretaries, and Spies: Mid-century Style in American Film, February 2008 (National Building Museum)

Reel Architecture Film Series, summer 2005 (National Building Museum)