Browse our most recent exhibitions below, or click here for a comprehensive list of all exhibitions we have presented since the Museum’s opening in 1985.
A comprehensive list of all National Building Museum exhibitions since the institution opened in 1985.
Murals That Matter: Activism Through Public Art
An outdoor exhibition of murals created in early summer 2020 in response to social justice protests. Installed on the West Lawn. A partnership with the DowntownDC BID and the P.A.I.N.T.S. Institute.
This exhibition of photographer Bill Bamberger’s work celebrates the power of basketball to transcend place and build community.
Lawn is an immersive installation in the Great Hall, and the centerpiece of the 2019 Summer Block Party.
Fun House invites visitors to walk through ten years of Snarkitecture projects in an all-new interactive exhibition.
Experience Hive this summer in the Great Hall, an interactive installation by Studio Gang. Open through September 4.
This 2016 installation, designed by James Corner Field Operations, suggested a beautiful, underwater world of glacial ice fields spanning the Museum’s Great Hall.
This summer installation designed by Snarkitecture covers 10,000 square feet and incorporates an “ocean” of nearly one million translucent plastic balls.
Our youngest visitors ages 2 to 6 enjoy a hands-on introduction to building and design at The Building Zone. Hours: 10 am-4 pm, Monday-Saturday; and 11 am-4 pm, Sunday.
Dive into the design, construction, and daily life of the Manhattan Project secret cities in the U.S.
Investigating Where We Live
See the built environment from the eyes of local teens. Participants used photography, art, and writing to create an exhibition about what they think defines Washington, D.C.
Making Room: Housing for a Changing America
Find out how developers, architects, and interior designers are crafting innovative and flexible housing concepts to meet the needs of a rapidly changing America.
Wright on the Walls
"Wright" directly on the walls in an exhibition gallery transformed into an interactive, large-scale “coloring book” inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's work. Open through September 4.
Architecture of an Asylum: St. Elizabeths 1852–2017
Trace the history and future of D.C.’s historic mental healthcare site. Explore shifting theories about how to care for the mentally ill, as well as recent plans for re-use of the campus.
Cool & Collected: Recent Acquisitions
Explore the extraordinary objects in the Museum’s collection. These physical pieces of the world we design and build inspire new perspectives on the built environment and how to improve it.
Discover how architects are leveraging the advantages of cutting-edge methods of timber construction, including surprising strength, fire resistance, sustainability, and beauty.
The changing streetscape of downtown Washington in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s is presented through the urban photography of Bill Barrett, Chris Earnshaw, and Joseph Mills.
Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse
Twelve exquisitely crafted dolls’ houses from the past 300 years illuminate the architectural and social history of domestic life in Great Britain.
Photographs focusing on the World Trade Center site chronicle the development of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn over 45 years.
This exhibition of monumental black-and-white photographs by landscape architect Alan Ward capture historic landscapes from across the United States.
The New American Garden
Photographs, drawings, and artworks depict the revolutionary landscape designs of Oehme, van Sweden & Associates.
A groundbreaking interactive installation by Lebanese-British artist Tania El-Khoury examines the human cost Syria’s civil war.
Stunning large-scale images of the post-earthquake restoration at the Washington Monument and Washington National Cathedral blend documentation with artistic expression.
Designing for Disaster
Compelling images and artifacts examine how design can reduce risk and increase resiliency in the face of nature’s most destructive forces.
HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaptation
More than 60 models reveal how cultural and climatic contexts shape design solutions by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.
The Architectural Image, 1920-1950
Prints, original drawings, and paintings drawn from a private Washington, D.C. collection illustrate a foundationally transformational period in architecture.
The BIG Maze
This summer installation, designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, features a large-scale maze for visitors to weave through and explore.
The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley
Photographs document major public and private commissions by one of the most influential Modernist landscape architects of the 20th century.
Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990
This traveling exhibition traces the transformation of Los Angeles into an internationally recognized destination with its own design vocabulary, canonic landmarks, and coveted way of life.
Palaces for the People
This exhibition presents the accomplishments of the R. Guastavino family, Spanish immigrants whose patented tile vaulting technique created awe-inspiring spaces across the country.
This exhibition explores trends in green design and the growing array of resources available to our next generation of healthy schools.
This summer installation features two nine-hole indoor mini golf courses designed and built by Washington-area architects, landscape architects, and contractors.
The tragedy of Detroit is revealed in thirty haunting, monumentally-scaled photographs depicting windowless hotels, barren factories, collapsing churches, and city blocks reclaimed by prairie grass.
Detroit Is No Dry Bones
Photographs taken over 25 years document Detroit’s precipitous decline and how the city’s residents have survived.
Cityscapes Revealed: Highlights from the Collection
This collection highlights the building materials, architectural styles, and construction practices that defined urban America from the late-19th to the first half of the 20th centuries .
Washington: Symbol and City
This exhibition reveals the inherent tensions between the demands of a working seat of government and the desire for a national symbol in the architecture of the nation’s capital.
Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment
Explore the work of this celebrated, third-generation modernist architect whose urban oases, corporate campuses, and megastructures reflect the spirit of the post-industrial age.
LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition
Fifteen buildings from around the world are rendered in LEGO® bricks by Adam Reed Tucker.
Unbuilt Washington features unrealized proposals for noteworthy architectural and urban design projects in Washington, D.C., and its environs from the 1790s to the present.
Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière
Meière designed some of the most memorable murals and mosaics of the Art Deco period. Sketches, painted studies, and scale models bring her creative process to life.
Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s
This exhibition showcased the modernist spectacles of architecture and design that nearly 100 million Americans witnessed at six world’s fairs held in the U.S. between 1933 and 1940.
Palladio and His Legacy
This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see some of the most important drawings in the world of architecture—31, 16th-century works by Italian Renaissance master Andrea Palladio.
Drawing Toward Home: Designs for Domestic Architecture from Historic New England
Original works from the drawing collections of Historic New England span two centuries and depict changing residential styles and design trends.
A Century of Design
Discover how this federal agency has shaped Washington, D.C., from memorials that define our national identity to public parks that enhance our city.
House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage
This exhibition traces the unique relationship between parked cars and the built environment and encourages visitors to see these familiar structures in a new way.