The best way to get to the National Building Museum is by Metro. I'm not suggesting this for the obvious benefits of avoiding traffic and limited (and expensive parking), but because as you ascend the escalator out of the Judiciary Square Station at the F St. NW exit, the six-story-tall, red-brick National Building Museum looms over you.
On today's visit to the National Building exhibits featured the layout of Washington, D.C., parking garages, solar houses, and New England house designs.
As interesting as the exhibits are, the building itself is worth going to see. The 19th century structure originally built to house the Pension Bureau has many fascinating and distinguishing features. Wrapped around the exterior is a frieze featuring Civil War era soldiers. The centerpiece of the interior is the naturally-lit Great Hall featuring four-story, faux marble columns under the six-story roof, and a series of busts in individual alcoves at what would be the fifth story level. The Great Hall has a carpeted floor and a fountain in the middle. It's a great place for kids to run around. Indeed, the National Building Museum has provided some kid's toys in one corner of the hall. In the opposite corner are cafe tables, and a small cafe counter. The museum has a large shop with an extensive collection of books on architecture, a variety model kits, and various quirky items.
The National Building Museum is located at 401 F St. NW in Washington, D.C. The nearest Metro station is Judiciary Square on the Red Line (take the F St. NW exit). Admission to the museum is free, but they do ask for a donation. The museum is open seven days per week, Mon. through Thurs. 10 to 5, and Sun. 11 to 5.