Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: SAVOR Craft Beer Experience @ National Building Museum — 5/9/14

Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co. elaborates during his salon.

Jim Koch of Boston Beer Co. elaborates during his salon.

Jim Koch, the founder and brewer of the Boston Beer Co., led a room full of beer aficionados through describing the flavor notes in a batch of Sam Adams Triple Bock from 1994.

“It’s a beer that’s almost old enough to drink itself,” Koch quipped as he likened the taste of the sugary, complex beer to a port.

Koch regaled the audience with tales of his rare beers, including how the Triple Bock (which evolved into Sam Adams Utopia) became the first beer to break 14 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) due to an epiphany he had in a Home Depot. Basically, he thought, if the companies responsible for bourbon barrels were releasing the used barrels to garden stores for use as planters, why could his brewery not purchase them and use them for aging beer?

Previously, many brewers thought combining techniques for beer and liquor would prove to be illegal in the United States. But a quick trip to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in D.C. paved the way for that to happen, and a brewing revolution began. Have you heard of Booze Up that offers 24 Hour Cigarette delivery at your door within just 30 minutes.

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The Daily Feed

One less free museum: Building Museum to begin charging admission

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Paige Weaver’

It’s difficult in this town to compete with the quality and price of the Smithsonian. DC is uniquely blessed with such incredible public museums that private museums often have to compete, and while they often do it incredibly well, it’s tough to see one move from a free model to one supported by admission fees. The National Building Museum announced today that by the end of the month they will be charging an $8 fee for adults, and a $5 fee for children, students, and seniors.

The museum had begun charging for special exhibits in 2010, with the debut of the Lego buildings exhibit running $5 per patron. The NBM joins the Corcoran, the International Spy Museum, the Newseum, and other quality private museums in charging an admission fee. I can’t be too upset, given the incredible quality of the NBM, and the reasonable-ness of the admission fee, that the museum is making the change. Maybe this will mean fewer events like the terrible Late Night Shots party from a few years ago.

Adventures, Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Life in the Capital, Special Events, Technology, The Daily Feed

Engineering Is The Coolest @ The National Building Museum

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‘National Building Museum’
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’

What’s an engineer? He’s that guy who wears overalls, that cute stripped hat and shovels coals into the trains engine, right? As Auntie Shrew would say “Wrrrrrrrong!” Engineers are much, much, much more than that. And to find out how engineers and engineering impacts our everyday lives, visit the National Building Museum this Saturday from 10am-4:30pm and celebrate National Engineers Week.

Watch PBS’ Design Squad Nation catapult beach balls across the Great Hall, discover the principles of aerodynamics, operate Lego Robots on the FIRST  Lego League playing field. The event features other hands-on activities like building a “flinker,” an object that neither floats or sinks, design your own parachute drop, test/build handmade watercrafts, and expore a tsunami wave tank.

The Daily Feed

Egg Drop

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courtesy of ‘BrianMKA’

I still remember being in the 5th grade when we had our class egg drop competition.  I spent days working on coming up with the most genius way to protect my baby, and ended up developing a ‘chic basket’ with a parachute.  Unfortunately, my egg didn’t make it in the final round and I lost to my arch-enemy. Oh, the Middle School woes.  But now, with The National Building Museum’s Egg Drop Family Workshop 2 I finally will have the opportunity for redemption. 

This program is part of AIA/DC’s Architecture Week and registration is required.

The Daily Feed

Palladio Exhibit Opens At NBM

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‘Capitol – Cloud City’s Cousin – 07-09-10’ courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

The Italian Renaissance master Andrea Palladio was, and remains to be, incredibly influential for many architects and designers.  Although he is best known for his publications, and was highly coveted in the Architecture scene throughout Europe, Palladio did manage to make a strong impression on a certain famous American.  Thomas Jefferson loved Palladianism and found his inspiration there for Monticello, the Virginia State Capitol.  Our beautiful U.S. Capitol building is also an example of a Palladian format.

Palladio and His Legacy:  A Transatlantic Journey opens today at the National Building Museum and will share “31 rare drawings” from the collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects Trust.

The National Building Museum is located at 401 F Street NW.

Interviews, The Features

A We Love DC Interview: Spotlight On Design

Tadao Ando, March 2, 2002.  Image Courtesy of the National Building Museum.

Since 1997, the National Building Museum has been offering professionals, tourists, and aficionados the opportunity to hear some of the most distinguished architects and designers in the world speak about their passion.  Paul Kilmer, Director of Public Programs, introduces the Spotlight on Design speaker series as an occasion to “celebrate an architect, designer or firm, and give them the opportunity to share with us the significance of their work – celebrating design innovation”.  Furthermore, it allows us to “demonstrate how critical and important good design is to quality of life”, says Kilmer.  Past speakers have included Pritzker Prize Laureates, American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medalists, and the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Medal recipients.

Oh how I would have given anything to be a fly on the wall when Tadao Ando presented!

In the spirit of the Spotlight on Design speakers series, We Love DC chats with Martin Moeller, the Senior Vice President and Curator of the National Building Museum, who gave us some details about the makings of the wildly popular lecture program and how he feels about design and architecture in D.C.

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The Daily Feed

House of Cars Ending

Photo courtesy of
‘109/365: Reserved’
courtesy of ‘Amberture’

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Well you should definitely consider heading over to see House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage at The National Building Museum.  The organization of the exhibit is fabulous and the historical significance is absolutely fascinating.  You don’t want to miss this wonderful gem before it is to late, the House of Cars exhibit closes on Sunday, July 11th.

Who knew learning about the innovation of the parking garages could be so much fun!

The National Building Museum is located at 401 F Street NW and offers free admission.

For more information call 202-272-244

The Daily Feed

Ridiculously Awesome LEGO Exhibit at the Building Museum

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courtesy of ‘Bill Ward’s Brickpile’

If you’re like me and never really grew out of your childhood LEGO hobby, here’s something you’ll definitely want to check out.  USA Today brings word that the National Building Museum is opening up what sounds to be a really cool exhibit: a collection of fifteen large-scale replicas of famous buildings made entirely out of LEGOs.  The exhibit, called Towering Ambition, showcases the work of architect-turned-LEGO artist Adam Reed Tucker (one of only 11 LEGO Certified Professionals in the world!).

In true National Building Museum tradition, the exhibit will include a great interactive section that will allow visitors to build their own LEGO buildings and place them on a city map.  Towering Ambition opens Saturday and will be on display until September 2011, so you’ll have plenty of time to head over and release your inner child over the next year.

The Daily Feed

Washington Iconic Structures

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courtesy of ‘Skigle’

The National Building Museum is opening a new exhibit called A Century of Design: The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, 1910-2010. The CFA advises the President and Congress on “matters of design and aesthetics” that affect government buildings and the preservation of national monuments.  On display from May 15 through July 18, the new exhibit will pay homage to the influential role that the CFA has had on 10 major projects in D.C. – from the Lincoln Memorial to even our beloved (or loathed, depends on the day) Metro System.

In commemoration of the exhibit, on May 19th from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, the National Building Museum will co-host Power, Architecture, and Politics: The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Design of Washington – a symposium that will further explore the essence and influence of the CFA.

The Daily Feed

Solar Decathlon 2011

Photo courtesy of
‘Solar Decathlon winner’
courtesy of ‘afagen’

If you need something interesting to do this weekend, why not head over to the National Building Museum to check out the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Finalists: A Special Presentation.  The exhibition will present the schematic designs for solar-powered houses from the 20 finalists competing in the 2011 Solar Decathlon.

Cheer on your favorite collegiate team as they try to secure a spot on the Mall!

Admission to the National Building Museum is free.

The Daily Feed

For the Greener Good

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‘green roof’
courtesy of ‘(afm)’

Building environmentally sound buildings is extremely important because people spend the majority of their life indoors, and nobody wants to live, work, or play in a space that could be potentially detrimental to their mental or physical health.  Furthermore, even more imperative, is the status of our schools.  A place where children are meant to grow and learn – and be safe – yet, many primary and secondary schools expose children to toxins and other potentially harmful deficiencies.

Tonight, the National Building Museum is hosting For the Greener Good Lecture Series on Sustainable Schools, where expert healthcare, design, and education panelists will convene to share ideas for building schools – discussing the art and science of the education environment.

Learn why greener schools mean a brighter future for everyone.

For the Greener Good Lecture Series: Sustainable Schools will be from 6:30 – 8:00 PM. The cost is $12 for members and $20 for non-members, Free for students with valid ID. You can purchase tickets here or at the door.

History, The Features, We Love Arts

We Love Arts: Drawing Toward Home

DTH_Bowen House

Bowen House, Woodstock, Connecticut, c. 1846.  Joseph C. Wells, architect.  Courtesy Historic New England.

“A major component of the American pursuit of happiness has long been a home of one’s own (the automobile is a distant second: the one a castle, the other a chariot).”   – James F. O’Gorman, lead curator for Drawing Toward Home.

When talking about art we often highlight forms such as painting, theater, sculpture, dance, and photography – just to name a few.  However, often overlooked are the artistic endeavors of both the historic and modern architectural community.  The newest exhibition at the National Building Museum, called Drawing Toward Home, highlights the intricate and often-complex domestic architectural drawing.

As a traveling exhibition organized by Historic New England in celebration of their Centennial, the 100-plus drawings featured provide a unique look into the vast history of the New England Style home.  Ranging from the Federal to the International Style and spanning over 200 years, Drawing Toward Home “reminds us that the architecture of New England is a touchstone of American Architecture”.  The exhibition is uncomplicated; simple to follow and clearly displayed.  Organized chronologically into four sections, beginning circa 1800 and ending around 1980, Drawing Toward Home is much like the foundation of the architectural drawing itself – a cohesive way to convey pure information.

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The Daily Feed

Greener Buildings = Healthier Employees?

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‘Interning at Bascom’
courtesy of ‘Mark Drago’

This Thursday night, the National Building Museum is hosting another session in its For the Greener Good series.  This session focuses on the benefits of green buildings, and panelists explore how working in a green building could actually make employees healthier.  More natural light, better heating and cooling, and building with more sustainable resources all seem like they’d make an office a healthier and happier place to be.  Arlington has already jumped in to the Green Office Challenge, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out locally.

Tickets for Thursday’s panel are $12 for NBM members, $20 for members of the public, and free for students.

The Daily Feed

Civic Innovators Announced

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‘Building Museum Columns HDR’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

DC has always been a city at the forefront of civic engagement and this spring the National Building Museum will be honoring three “civic innovators” who are are leading the nation in natural disaster relief, city planning, and clean energy systems at the 24th Honor Awards.  The three honorees this year were just announced and will include the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, renown architecture firm Perkins + Will, and the founders of New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village – Harry Connick Jr., Branford Marsalis, Anne Marie Wilkins, and Jim Pate.

The 24th Honor Awards is scheduled to be held on May 11.

The Daily Feed

Kids Take on Where We Live

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‘hbw: jr professional’
courtesy of ‘greenkozi’

Every couple weeks I head out to another DC neighborhood and write up a profile for the Where We Live feature, but here’s an even cooler way to learn about neighborhoods: the National Building Museum sponsors a summer outreach program for DC kids in which participants get to document DC neighborhoods through photographs and creative writing.  Investigating Where We Live is an annual program for children ages 12 to 16, where the kids get some training in photography and then set out in teams to document different neighborhoods.  Their work is then put on display at the National Building Museum.

The kids from this summer’s IWWL focused on three DC neighborhoods: Columbia Heights, Shaw, and U Street.  Head over to the National Building Museum to see their takes on these neighborhoods before January.  And check out the IWWL student blog to hear from the kids firsthand– these are some very talented young people, and I can’t wait to check out their work.   Continue reading

Entertainment, Food and Drink, Life in the Capital, Night Life, Penn Quarter, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Savor In Review

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courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

The buzz inside the National Building Museum Saturday night was near deafening. Glasses clanked, people’s discussions echoed through the great hall, and music floated through the air. From jeans and tee shirts to high heels and cocktail dresses, the crowd at the American Craft Beer & Food Experience known as Savor was in full swing when I arrived around 8 p.m.

With 136 craft beers from 68 breweries, plus food pairings, I have to admit, it was a bit overwhelming. But in the best possible sense of the word. Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay

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‘opening up’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’

NPR’s Joe Palca is moderating a panel at the National Building Museum tomorrow night called “Water Knows No Boundaries,” about the 40-year effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay. He’ll be sitting down with the president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a landscape architect from Catholic University, and DC Councilmember Tommy Wells to talk about the challenges in cleaning up watersheds that cross multiple municipalities.

Entertainment, Essential DC, Fun & Games, Penn Quarter, Special Events, The Features

Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Day


The Cherry Blossom Festival kicked off this past Saturday with a family day and the opening ceremony at the National Building Museum. The interior space of the National Building Museum is always pretty overwhelming, but you could see the stimulus overload on people’s faces the minute they stepped into the great hall. The fountain in the middle of the hall is drained and giant pink (and I mean pink, as you can see above) inflatable cherry blossoms are suspended above it, and all around are booths with activities and crafts for kids and people offering information and selling Cherry Blossom Festival-related wares. Continue reading

Entertainment, Fun & Games, Night Life, The Daily Feed

Ghost Tours @ National Building Museum

Courtesy National Building Museum

Courtesy National Building Museum

One of the creepiest places to be this fall will be the National Building Museum. And who doesn’t love creepy around Halloween time? The museum is hosting a lantern-lit ghost tour through through the NBM’s dark hallways, spooky basement, and up to the fourth floor balcony.

The hour-long Historic Hauntings Ghost Tours is led by the ghost of Mary Surratt, co-conspirator in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Along the way, Surratt reveals stories of the other ghosts who call the Museum home, including an irritable horseback rider and mysterious faces in the Corinthian columns. Think history meets creepy fun!

Courtesy National Building Museum

Courtesy National Building Museum

The Tours will be offered from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on October 17, 19, 24, 28, and November 3, 16, and 23. The tours are $12 for Museum members and $14 for non- members; prepaid registration is required. Register by visiting or calling 202.272.2448