National Building Museum

About this Museum

The National Building Museum was founded in 1980, following legislation signed by President Jimmy Carter to create a new cultural institution to teach Americans about the building arts. It stands just four blocks from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the former U.S. Pension Bureau’s headquarters, which was designed by Montgomery C. Meigs and built between 1882 and 1887. The building was officially renamed the National Building Museum in 1997. (Notably, the building has hosted multiple inaugural presidential balls.)

The National Building Museum is dedicated to architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, construction, urban planning, historic preservation, and the many fields of design and development that compose the built environment. Its permanent collection reflects changing architectural styles and construction techniques. As of this writing, the collection includes approximately 75,000 photographs, 68,000 architectural prints and drawings, and 10,000 objects, including building toys, architectural fragments, and material samples. Among others, the Museum boasts collections devoted to interior designer Ernest L. Brothers, the Woolworth company, contractor James Stewart & Company (who worked with clients like General Motors, U.S. Steel, Standard Oil, General Electric, and the Pennsylvania Railroad), and architect William T. Partridge.

Museum Details

401 F Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm
Sun: 11am-5pm