NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM
             an illustrated timeline
Construction on the Pension
Building, the future home of the
National Building Museum,
begins.




                       ...
President Benjamin Harrison’s                             President William McKinley’s second
inaugural ball.             ...
The Government Accounting
                                                          Office moves into a new
              ...
In the early 1960s, the General Services
Administration (GSA) considers
demolishing the building. Under pressure
from pres...
The annual holiday television special Christmas in
                                                           Washington i...
The Museum expands its permanent collection with
                                          the acquisition of the Wurts Br...
The Museum holds its first Festival of the Building
                                   Arts, an all-day, all-ages festival...
A 65-foot-high, Frank Gehry-
                               designed sculpture is installed in
                           ...
The Museum launches the
                                    Investigating Where We Live outreach
                         ...
The Museum holds its first Discover
                                      Engineering Family Night, which
                ...
The Museum establishes the Vincent Scully Prize to
recognize exemplary practice, scholarship or criticism
in architecture,...
The Museum receives the Mayor’s
               Arts Award for Outstanding
               Education Programs.




         ...
As the issue of sustainability
                                              comes to the forefront, the
                 ...
President George W. Bush’s
second inaugural ball.



                The Museum launches the
                Bridge Basics...
The Museum expands its permanent collection with
the acquisition of the Architectural Toy Collection
and the Robert C. Lau...
David Macaulay leads visitors in sketching
exercises just for fun and as a new way of
seeing and responding to their surro...
The Museum opens the newly renovated
Beverly Willis Library named in honor of
founding trustee and pioneering architect
Be...
The Museum begins its fellowship program with its first
Field Visiting Scholars. Fellowships at the National Building
Muse...
A team from Virginia Tech completes
    construction of the Lumenhaus, its 2009
     Solar Decathlon entry, on the Museum’...
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NBM Online Anniversary Timeline

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Celebrating the history of the National Building Museum.

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NBM Online Anniversary Timeline

  1. 1. NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM an illustrated timeline
  2. 2. Construction on the Pension Building, the future home of the National Building Museum, begins. Pension Building construction completed. The finished building contains 15,500,000 bricks and costs $886,614.04 to construct. 1882 1884 1885 1887 Pension Bureau moves into the building. President Grover Cleveland’s inaugural ball, the first to take place in the Pension Building, is held in the Great Hall
  3. 3. President Benjamin Harrison’s President William McKinley’s second inaugural ball. inaugural ball. 1889 1897 1901 1909 President William McKinley’s first President William Taft’s inaugural ball. inaugural ball.
  4. 4. The Government Accounting Office moves into a new building across G Street. Various other tenants, including the Civil Service Commission and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia occupy the building until 1980, when restoration work for the creation of the National Building Museum begins. Pension Bureau moves to another location. 1926 1950 Government Accounting Office (GAO) moves into the building.
  5. 5. In the early 1960s, the General Services Administration (GSA) considers demolishing the building. Under pressure from preservationists, GSA commissions Washington architect Chloethiel Woodard Smith to explore other possibilities for its use. The result is the 1967 report, “The Pension Building: A Building in Search of a Client,” which introduces the idea of converting the building into a museum of An Act of Congress the building arts. mandates the creation of Committee for the the National Building Museum of the Building Museum as a private, Arts is formed. nonprofit educational institution. The Act establishes a private- Pension Building listed on Congress passes a public partnership btween the National Register of resolution calling for the the GSA, the Department Historic Places preservation of the of the Interior, and the building as a national Museum treasure. 1967 1969 1973 1975 1978 1980 President Richard Nixon’s inaugural ball.
  6. 6. The annual holiday television special Christmas in Washington is taped in the Great Hall for the first time. The National Building Museum has hosted Christmas in Washington every year since. Extensive renovation and adaptive reuse work begins on the Pension Building to restore it to its nineteenth- century appearance. 1980 1981 1982 President Ronald First issue of Blueprints, the Museum’s first Reagan’s inaugural ball. publication. A quarterly journal devoted to all aspects of the building arts and the built Bates Lowry is named the first director of environment, Blueprints discusses topics ranging the National Building Museum. from urban skyscrapers to suburban housing to landscape architecture.
  7. 7. The Museum expands its permanent collection with the acquisition of the Wurts Brothers Photography Collection. This internationally recognized collection, comprising some 20,000 prints and negatives, is the Museum’s largest and most significant photographic archives until 2006. The Museum begins its docent program. 1982 1983 1985 The Museum receives an unprecedented On October 24, 1985, the National Building Museum gift of 50,000 drawings created by the opens to the public with four exhibitions, anchored by Northwestern Terra Cotta Company Building a National Image: Architectural Drawings for between 1900 and 1954. The collection the American Democracy. In the same year, the Pension remains one of the largest and most Building is designated a National Historic Landmark. valuable of its kind.
  8. 8. The Museum holds its first Festival of the Building Arts, an all-day, all-ages festival that celebrates the built environment. The Festival of the Building Arts is a National Building Museum tradition that continues today. Robert W. Duemling is named President and Director of the National Building Museum. President Ronald Reagan’s second inaugural ball. 1985 1986 1987 The Museum institutes its annual Honor Award to recognize individuals and corporations that have made important contributions to the nation’s built environment. The first recipient is J. Irwin Miller, cited for his work to bring buildings designed by America’s greatest architects to his native city of Columbus, Indiana
  9. 9. A 65-foot-high, Frank Gehry- designed sculpture is installed in the Museum’s Great Hall by nearly 600 volunteers from the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association as part of the Sheet Metal Craftsmanship: Progress in Building exhibition.  The Museum opens its first long-term exhibition, Washington: Symbol and City, exploring the dynamic tension between the twin roles played by the capital city. The first iteration of the show is on view for 10 years. The second iteration opens in 2004 and is still open today. 1988 1989 1991 Restoration and renovation President George Bush’s inaugural ball. efforts in the building are completed.
  10. 10. The Museum launches the Investigating Where We Live outreach program that teaches local students how to interpret Washington, D.C., neighborhoods through photography and creative writing. The Museum launches its premier lecture series, Spotlight on Design, which features famous and cutting- edge designers and architects from around the world. Some notable The Museum launches its speakers over the years have CityVision outreach program included Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, for middle and junior high Rem Koolhaas, David Adjaye, Jean school students, which Nouvel, and Steven Holl. teaches participants how to initiate and promote change in their community through design. 1993 1994 1996 President Bill Clinton’s Susan Henshaw Jones is first inaugural ball. appointed President and Director of the Museum.
  11. 11. The Museum holds its first Discover Engineering Family Night, which would grow into the Zoom into Engineering Festival in 2002 and become the popular Discover Engineering Family Day, which is still held at the Museum today. From the The Museum holds its first beginning, the event celebrates Smart Growth lecture. The engineering and shows audiences of Smart Growth speaker series all-ages how professional engineers is a free, noontime program, turn an idea into reality. presented in association with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which promotes dialogue and research of sustainable development strategies that preserve community character and protect the environment. The Pension Building is officially renamed the National Building Museum. 1997 1998 President Bill Clinton’s The Museum begins its lecture series Building in the 21st second inaugural ball. Century in partnership with the Department of Energy. The series offers free noontime lectures focused on energy-efficient and economical technologies and construction techniques.
  12. 12. The Museum establishes the Vincent Scully Prize to recognize exemplary practice, scholarship or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design. The first recipient is the eminent architectural historian himself. The Museum’s most popular exhibition to date, The White House in Miniature, opens. On average, 22,661 visitors tour the exhibition each month during its five and half month run. The Washington Post names the National Building Museum A new outreach effort for area youth, the Design Shop “best in the city.” Apprenticeship Program (DAP), begins. This 30- hour program conducted on five-to-six consecutive Saturdays offers students an intensive experience in which they design and construct projects. 1999 2000 More than 1,600 people attend a Spotlight on Design lecture by Frank Gehry in the Great Hall. The lecture holds the record for largest public lecture attendance at the Museum.
  13. 13. The Museum receives the Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Education Programs. In response to the attacks of September 11th, the Museum presents a year-long series of exhibitions and education programs titled Building in the Aftermath, including the exhibitions Twin Towers Remembered: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara and A New World Trade Center: Design Proposals, opening in 2002. The Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology, endowed by the Turner Construction Company, is created. The first recipient is the noted structural engineer Leslie E. Robertson. 2001 2002 2003 President George W. Bush’s first inaugural ball. Chase W. Rynd is appointed executive director and president of the National Building Museum.
  14. 14. As the issue of sustainability comes to the forefront, the Museum opens the exhibition Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century, which explores environmentally- friendly designs for skyscrapers and other megastructures. This Old House films master carpenter Norm Abram touring the Museum’s acclaimed exhibition Do-It-Yourself: Home Improvement The Museum opens the in 20th-Century America with curator immensely popular Liquid Stone: Chrysanthe Broikos and creates a one-hour New Architecture in Concrete TV special based on the exhibition. exhibition, featuring the public debut of translucent concrete. 2003 2004
  15. 15. President George W. Bush’s second inaugural ball. The Museum launches the Bridge Basics Curriculum Kit for national audiences. The kit is introduced into schools in Washington, D.C., followed by schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June of 2009. The Museum constructs a full-scale replica of architect Michelle Kaufmann’s Glidehouse in its blockbuster exhibition The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design, focused on the greening of residential architecture. First Lady Laura Bush visits the exhibition shortly after it opens in the summer of 2006. 2005 2006 In partnership with the American Planning Association, the Museum hosts its first L’Enfant Lecture on City Planning and Design with Sir Peter Hall. The lecture is established to draw attention to critical issues in city and regional planning in the United States. Later L’Enfant lecturers include: Enrique Peñalosa, Teddy Cruz, Paul Goldberger, and Barry Bergdoll.
  16. 16. The Museum expands its permanent collection with the acquisition of the Architectural Toy Collection and the Robert C. Lautman Photography Collection. The Architectural Toy Collection is one of the largest and most sophisticated of The Lautman Collection contains more than its kind held in public trust within the 30,000 prints, transparencies, and negatives United States. documenting American architectural trends during the second half of the 20th century. 2006 2007 The Museum raises a record $1.28 million in conjunction with its annual Honor Award gala, which is presented to the prominent development firm Related.
  17. 17. David Macaulay leads visitors in sketching exercises just for fun and as a new way of seeing and responding to their surroundings during the Big Draw event celebrating the exhibition David Macaulay: The Art of Drawing Architecture. The Museum launches For the Greener Good: Conversations that Will Change the World, a lecture series that calls on experts from diverse backgrounds to investigate links between environmental sustainability and design, public health, energy policy, bioscience, infrastructure, education, and even popular culture. 2007
  18. 18. The Museum opens the newly renovated Beverly Willis Library named in honor of founding trustee and pioneering architect Beverly A. Willis, FAIA. The 1,900-square- foot facility serves as a multi-purpose resource center with library, study center, and conference room. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers her concession speech for the Democratic Presidential nomination to then-Senator Barack Obama in the Museum’s Great Hall. 2008 The Museum launches its redesigned web site with new multimedia content and increased opportunities for online engagement with constituents.
  19. 19. The Museum begins its fellowship program with its first Field Visiting Scholars. Fellowships at the National Building Museum provide scholars with opportunities to pursue independent research related to the Museum’s potential or planned exhibitions or its permanent collections. The Museum’s school programs have record-breaking attendance, welcoming more than 20,000 students during the school year. The Museum launches its Industry Council for the Built Environment. The annual event attracts leaders who determine and influence the quality of our built world. 2008 2009 On November 14-15, the National President Barack Obama’s inaugural ball. Building Museum hosts the G-20 Leaders Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy.
  20. 20. A team from Virginia Tech completes construction of the Lumenhaus, its 2009 Solar Decathlon entry, on the Museum’s West Lawn. The 2010 National Cherry Blossom Family Day and Opening Ceremony sets a record for the number visitors to the Museum in a single day at 12,354. 2009 2010 The Museum hosts the World Habitat Day 2009 The Museum sets a record for annual celebrations in the Great Hall. Speakers include U.S. attendance with 436,315 visitors. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and musician and activist Jon Bon Jovi.

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