National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.

The National Building Museum’s exhibition PLAY.WORK.BUILD takes visitors through an investigation of the history of construction toys and block play, combining the Museum’s unique Architectural Toy Collection with our firm’s Imagination Playground. The exhibition begins with a traditional gallery display culled from the Museum’s collection of more than 2,300 sets of architectural and construction toys. After learning about the history of block play, visitors proceed to the next gallery in which more of the museum’s artifacts, specifically focused on education - like those by Caroline Pratt and Friedrich Froebel, are on view. Here they are also encouraged to test their own building skills with small-scale blue foam blocks designed by our firm. The walls of the third gallery are covered with Imagination Playground trademark blue foam material, and offer hundreds of large-scale blocks for interactive play; visitors can either re-imagine their small-scale buildings into over-sized structures or create something entirely new and original.

In the final gallery, an original interactive installation of virtual block play has been created by the LAB. Through this hands-on, interactive exhibition, families are able to collectively experience the connection between early examples of imaginative play and its modern-day interpretation, gain an appreciation of its historical significance, and design their own course of play.