The Smithsonian Institution is planning to temporarily reopen its Arts and Industries Building, which has been closed since 2004, in November in honor of the institution’s 175th anniversary.
The building, known as the country’s first National Museum, originally opened in 1881, and offered exhibits in a wide range of areas.
It is the Smithsonian’s second oldest building and “Its soaring halls introduced millions of Americans to wonders about how to change the world—Edison’s lightbulb, the first telephone, Apollo rockets,” according to the institution.
From dinosaurs to rocket ships, many iconic items were first showcased at this place.
The Arts and Industries Building never went through a comprehensive renovation after its closure due to structural concerns. It is now being fully rehabilitated for the first time in 140 years.
*tap tap* 🎤
— Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building (@SmithsonianAIB) February 22, 2021
The Smithsonian says it will open the museum “with a groundbreaking new experience that looks forward,” which is a combination of an exhibit and a festival: FUTURES.
Scheduled for November 2021–July 2022, FUTURES is the “first building-wide exploration of the future on the National Mall, spanning 32,000 square feet.”
Visitors will get to experience the “future” at the exhibition by smelling a molecule, cleaning their clothes in a wetland, observing lab-grown meals, meditating with an AI robot, traveling through time and space, becoming an emoji, and more, via interactives, artworks, and various technologies.
“The FUTURES is yours to decide, debate, delight. We invite you to dream big, and imagine not just one future, but many possible futures on the horizon—playful, sustainable, inclusive,” the Smithsonian said in a statement.
The museum was initially planned to reopen in 2014, but it was canceled due to financial issues.