Hard Hats On: Members of the Media Tour Exhibits under Construction at the National Museum of American History

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tags: National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History hosted a hard-hat tour on Wednesday to showcase its west wing renovation, which will open in phases staring in July 2015. Local and national media joined the tour, and we were led through an active construction zone by NMAH Director John L. Gray.

“We literally had to gut all of it,” Gray said. While the original design was groundbreaking for its time when the museum opened 50 years ago, he explained, museum visitors now expect a high degree of interactivity. “The difference between what museums used to do and what they do today is we actively engage the visitor in their experience. It’s not a passive experience.”

Our first stop was at the future site of an acoustic auditorium that will showcase live performances of classical, jazz, and roots music, which will be integrated into the exhibits on American culture. Just below this is the future site of Liberty Plaza, a performance space near the museum’s west entrance for civic discourse and, according to Gray, “a gathering place to discuss key areas and ideas of America.” This will include lectures, reenactments, and forums, and will tie directly to political exhibits on democracy and American independence nearby.

Read entire article at AHA

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