Just days after Washington D.C.’s National Building Museum revealed that Aileen Fuchs will serve as the next president and executive director of the 41-year-old nonprofit institution, the museum has announced that it has an official reopening date. And for real this time.
The date is set for less than two weeks from now, on April 9, and moving forward the museum (along with the museum shop) will be open to visitors Fridays through Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guests will be required to don face masks and capacity will be limited in compliance with D.C. healthy and safety guidelines. Online programming instituted during the museum’s closure—over 16 months in total—will continue until “the city’s rules on the size of indoor gatherings allow for in-person events,” according to a press release.
The museum has been closed since December 2019 to accommodate for major planned renovations, including the ceramic flooring in the soaring Great Hall, and was expected to reopen in March of last year. That, of course, never happened due to the spread of COVID and the museum, like so many cultural institutions, remained indefinitely shuttered during the tumultuous past year.
In addition to its current ongoing exhibitions, the museum will reopen with three new must-sees: A showcase of the human dignity-improving output of Boston nonprofit architecture firm MASS Design Group titled Justice is Beauty: The Work of MASS Design Group; the D.C. debut of the Gun Memorial Project, a tribute to the thousands of lives claimed by gun violence in the U.S. every year, designed by MASS Design Group with Hank Willis Thomas that will be shown in conjunction with Justice is Beauty and be free to all visitors, and Alan Karchmer: The Architects’ Photographer, an examination of the celebrated photographer as well as the practice of architectural photography writ large. Justice is Beauty and the Gun Memorial Project will be on display through September 22 while the Karchmer exhibition will run through June 22.
Also debuting to the public on April 9 is the museum’s new three-room Visitor Center, which includes a ticketing desk and other features, located on the ground floor opposite the museum shop across the Great Hall.
“The National Building Museum is reopening with new leadership and an impressive lineup of exhibitions,” said interim executive director Brent Glass in a statement. “We are delighted that the public can return to our home in the historic Pension Building and again experience the extraordinary Great Hall, one of Washington’s most important interior spaces.”
The AARP is serving as presenting sponsor of the museum’s long-awaited reopening with Amazon, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, CoStar Group, Clark Construction Group LL, the American Institute of Architects, Miller & Long, and Bjarke Ingels Group providing additional support.