Categories: Articles, Press

–Multigenerational exhibition will be on display for ten years and opens with a FREE community celebration on Sunday, January 21, 2024–

WASHINGTON, D.C.–December 12, 2023—Today, the National Building Museum announced the opening date for its landmark new, multigenerational exhibition Building Stories.

Opening Sunday, January 21, 2024, Building Stories is a new long-term exhibition that will bring kids and adults alike on an immersive exploration of the world of architecture, engineering, construction, and design found in the pages of children’s books. Occupying 4,000 square feet of prominent exhibition space on the Museum’s ground floor, Building Stories is the most ambitious exhibition ever undertaken by the Museum and will be on display for ten years.

Partnering with curator Leonard Marcus, the nation’s leading expert on children’s literature, and Portland, OR-based exhibition and experiential design studio Plus And Greater Than, Building Stories provides a portal into the wonder of the built environment through the imaginative lens of children’s books.

Designed for a multigenerational audience – children, parents, grandparents, and caregivers – with special attention paid to children in grades K-3, Building Stories features beloved children’s classics and modern-day offerings from award winning authors including Sophie Blackall, Ezra Jack Keats, and Květa Pacovská, among many others. Stories such as Goodnight Moon, Winnie-the-Pooh, The Snowy Day, Eloise, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Hobbit, Rome Antics, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Last Stop on Market Street, and Here We Are, among hundreds of other titles, help children establish their place in the world, starting with the concept of home, in all its forms.

“We are ecstatic to open Building Stories to the public after many years of planning,” said Aileen Fuchs, president and executive director of the National Building Museum. “Building Stories celebrates the impact that children’s literature has had on all of us, and how it has helped us find our place in the world. Like books do, we hope the exhibition will transport visitors to new places and spark curiosity and thoughtful conversation about the built environment and how we can all be agents of change for a more sustainable and equitable future.”

In the exhibition visitors will encounter familiar classics and new favorites through hands-on activities, media installations, sketching, reading, and building stories of their own. Award-winning author/illustrators David Macaulay and Oliver Jeffers have collaborated with the Museum to create original environments within the exhibition. Macaulay’s space will offer insight into his creative process and allow visitors to better understand the worlds created in books, while Jeffer’s concluding installation encourages us all to engage in making the world a better place.

“The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation is proud to be an early supporter of the National Building Museum’s upcoming exhibition Building Stories and affiliated programming,” Mardell Moffett executive director of the The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation said. “Recognizing the intrinsic value of the arts and humanities, as well as their power to innovate and create social change, we believe Building Stories will elevate the cultural landscape of the area and advance a more equitable, vibrant Washington, D.C.”

In celebration of the exhibition opening, the Museum will host a FREE community day on Sunday, January 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Building Stories is sponsored by National Endowment for the Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, DC Public Library Foundation, AARP, National Endowment for the Arts, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Events DC, HITT Contracting, National Association of Homebuilders, STUDIOS Architecture, The Field Fund, Philip L. Graham Fund, The American Institute of Architects, Bookey Family Foundation, Whayne and Ursula Quin, SmartLam, American Society of Landscape Architects, DPR Construction, DAVIS Construction, George Corey and Cynthia Krus, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, RCM&D, AECOM, Armstrong World Industries, Rebecca Ballard and John Means, Leanna Beaber, Capital One, Bonnie and Louis Cohen, Howard and Shirlee Friedenberg, Anthony and Keiko Greenberg, Sue Kemnitzer, In memory of Donald B. Myer, FAIA, REX-LUMBER, Judy and Darrel Rippeteau, TJ and Elizabeth Wilkinson.

IMAGES: Images for Building Stories are available HERE.

SAVE THE DATE: Media are invited to attend a Press Preview for Building Stories on Thursday, January 18 at 10 a.m. More details to come.

National Building Museum: Karen Baratz,, 240.497.1811

The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, planning, and design is important for everyone. Through exhibitions, educational programs, and special events, we welcome visitors of all ages to experience stories about the built world and its power to shape our lives, our communities, and our futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448,, or visit Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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