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Your Guide to Visiting Planet Word
DC’s newest museum showcases the immense power of language through interactive exhibits
With 2020 drawing to a close, Washington, DC has an exciting new museum to explore. Planet Word is free to visit and features an array of exhibits that are sure to engage, educate and increase enthusiasm about the power of language. Read on for a preview of what to expect at this innovative destination.
What is Planet Word?
This brand new museum, located at 925 13th Street NW, aims to bring language to life through engaging, interactive exhibits. Housed inside the historic Franklin School, Planet Word is the world’s first voice-activated museum, with immersive displays that dazzle visitors of all ages. Inside, you will discover the true power of words and how they bring joy, foster empathy and connect people from all over the world.
How do I visit?
Admission to Planet Word is free. Currently, the museum is open on a limited basis to support social distancing, with timed passes offered monthly. Its hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit Planet Word’s website to read their visitor guidelines (which include the requirement of a mask for any visitor over the age of 2) and reserve a pass.
What can I expect to see at Planet Word?
Planet Word immediately stands out in DC’s lineup of museums through its awe-inspiring interactive capabilities. As a visitor, you bring the building to life through your engagement with the written word and spoken language, making for a museum experience unlike any other in the District.
You’re greeted by the Speaking Willow Tree, which conjures murmurs in hundreds of languages as you pass through its branches. This immersive metal sculpture is the first permanent installation in DC by trailblazing artists Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.
The upper floor consists of three exhibits, including First Words, which showcases the process of how we learn our first language. The Spoken World will amaze you with the diversity of language around the globe through speakers and signers of 31 different languages. The 22-foot-tall wall of words that is Where Do Words Come From? dives into the story of the English language and the origin of many of its most commonly used words.
Planet Word’s middle floor is perhaps its most adventurous. You can test out your public speaking skills, use words to transform the color in the room around you, browse a magical library filled with literary secrets, sing an iconic song karaoke-style and step into a humor gallery to determine the funniest member of your crew. On the lower floor, you can step into a recording booth to share a story of how words have changed your life and hear stories from others via the Words Matter exhibit. I’m Sold! showcases how advertisers use language to entice, and you can craft an ad yourself.
Make sure to check out Planet Word’s Shared_Studios’ Portal, which is equipped with audio-visual technology that allows you to converse and interact with citizens from all over the globe as if you were in the same room.
One final note: although the museum is free to enter, please consider a donation to help Planet Word spread the power, beauty and fun of language.