Hang out on the LAWN in the National Building Museum

The National Building Museum’s annual Summer Block Party installation just opened, and it’s one to put on your seasonal To Do list. LAWN transforms the Great Hall into an inviting, expansive green space that encourages recreation and relaxation — whatever your preference — with an aesthetic and activities that evoke a feeling of summer.

Designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group, the studio that built the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs, LAWN is a sloping, stretch of “grass” (it’s a soy-based, recyclable product) adorned with elements for visitors to enjoy. Adirondack chairs and blankets offer seating. Corn hole and croquet mallets and soft balls welcome play. The gentle hill is fun to run up or roll down. Hammocks invite guests to lay back and relax…and listen to stories of summer.

The hammocks are equipped with speakers above them playing audio of famous people talking about summer experiences. You can listen to Jose Andres, Whoopi Goldberg, Venus Williams, and many more celebrated folks share their memories. It kind of feels like you’re chilling out with a friend on a lazy day, listening to them relay a story.

There are more speakers placed around the exhibit that play sounds of the season — crickets chirping, a thunderstorm, birds calling. A stand at the bottom of the hill sells summer treats, lemonade and ice cream and cookies. And the museum’s fountain is incorporated into the exhibit in an interesting way, reminding me of an inflatable swimming pool in the backyard.

You can get a bird’s eye view of the whole scene from a three-story scaffolding tower at the top of the hill. Walk in and climb the stairs to a platform to watch the action below and get new perspectives of the stunning Great Hall.

There will be special programming like movie night, yoga sessions, and late nights, so be sure to check the calendar to see what’s coming up. And DC residents should be aware of Ward Days, when they can visit LAWN with complimentary admission from 9–11am when the ward they live in is invited: July 23 is Wards 7 and 8, July 30 is Wards 2 and 6, August 6 is Wards 3 and 4, and August 13 is Wards 1 and 5.

Plan a day to play and relax on the LAWN. It’s one that kids of all ages (including us really big kids 😉) will enjoy.

Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $16/adult, $13/age 3-17, $10/AARP & Blue Star, FREE/members

* Museum members get free admission, so this is a good time to consider a Family Membership


Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Exhibit, Indoor Play, Museums, Seasonal, Special Event, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

3 Responses to Hang out on the LAWN in the National Building Museum

  1. Dcelizabeth

    Meh. I don’t get this one. For those who don’t have a yard or any grass elsewhere to play on I guess but why not just go to a park? And enjoy actual crickets etc? We enjoyed the beach installations and houses etc but can use our hammock and grass at home already.

    • Linda @ KidFriendly DC

      It’s more than just hanging out and playing. The design aspect is really interesting (it’s the Building Museum, after all), but I guess one needs to be into that. And the audio of celeb stories is fun. Plus, it’s a cool experience indoors when DC is usually hot and humid in the summer — no sunscreen or bug spray needed!

  2. Nicole

    I’ve been very interested in previous exhibits at the Building Museum. LAWN though? Sounds more like YAWN. I agree with the previous post — there are lots of great actual green spaces to take your kids to play. Playing on artificial turf — even if it’s recyclable — playing cornhole and sitting in a hammock doesn’t seem worth the price of admission. I get that it’s an indoor air-conditioned play space, but lots of gyms offer that for kids with way more to do. To be fair, if one has very young children, this might be a nice option on a crummy, rainy day — and could be combined with the Building Museum’s very well done “Building Zone” play area for the toddler and early elementary set. For anyone else, I’d pass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *