1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

National Building Museum



National Building Museum

© Maxwell MacKenzie

The National Building Museum is a museum in downtown Washington, DC that examines America's architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning. The exhibits include photographs and models of buildings in Washington, DC and offer insight into the history and future of our built environment. The museum offers a variety of educational programs and special events, including informative lectures, interesting demonstrations and great family programs.

The National Building Museum, housed in the former Pension Bureau building that dates back to 1887, is recognized as a marvel of architectural engineering. The Great Hall is impressive with its Corinthian columns and four-story atrium. At its highest point, the Great Hall is actually 15-stories high. Corporations, associations, private foundations and government agencies may rent the museum for evening events. The museum has been the site of sixteen Presidential Inaugural balls and is the host location for the opening ceremony of National Cherry Blossom Festival each spring.

See Photos of the National Building Museum

401 F Street NW Washington, DC

The National Building Museum is located across the street from the Judiciary Square Metro station.
See a map of Penn Quarter

Museum Hours
Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Admission to the Great Hall and docent-led tours of the historic building are free of charge. The prices below include access to all galleries, including Play Work Build, House & Home, Building Zone and docent-led exhibition tours, where available.

  • $8 for adults
  • $5 for youth (ages 3 through 17), students with ID, and seniors (age 65 and over)
  • $3 per person for the Building Zone only, the Museum’s hands-on building gallery for children 2 to 6
  • Free for Museum members, children age 2 and under, active-duty military and their families
Tours of the National Building Museum are offered Monday through Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., and Thursday through Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.

National Building Museum Shop
The museum gift shop offers a variety of unique items relating to the building arts. You may shop online.

Museum Café
Firehook Bakery and Coffee House offer a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, baked goods, and beverages.

Official Website

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.