National Building Museum reopens after 16-month closure


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The National Building Museum is back open after it was shuttered for 16 months. It was initially closed for construction and was forced to remain closed during the pandemic.

Vice President for Exhibitions Cathy Frankel said all COVID safety protocols are in place, including social distancing, face-covering requirements and hand sanitizing stations. The museum will also be limiting the number of people in exhibition galleries. It’s open on a limited schedule on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Visitors will discover a new visitor’s center and three new exhibitions, including a gun violence memorial project and an architectural photographer’s life’s work. Alan Karchmer has gifted 40 years’ worth of photographs as part of the National Building Museum’s permanent collection.

It was a long-awaited debut: Karchmer’s exhibition has been ready to go since March of 2020, but the construction and COVID-19 delayed its premiere.

“It’s my life’s work and it is gratifying that it will be around as long as the museum is around to serve as a resource for people who are studying architecture of the era that I was working and that the value of that work is recognized,” he said.

Some of that work includes snapshots from Karchmer’s travels: sculptural architecture, architecture in landscape and urban architecture, to name a few.

“A lot of other museums closed because of the mayor’s orders at Christmastime and have remained closed so this is a new option,” said Frankel. “There’s a handful of us museums who are open so I hope people come and see us.”

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