On a peaceful evening, nothing beats stretching out on a comfy hammock, surrounded by a lush, well-manicured lawn … inside a climate-controlled room?
Yes, that’s the gist of the National Building Museum’s newest installation, “Lawn,” where you can revel in all your favorite summer activities minus the pesky mosquitoes and sweltering heat.
From Thursday through Labor Day, the museum’s Great Hall will transform into a sprawling yard complete with faux grass, lawn chairs and space to play croquet, bocce and other outdoor games. It’s an exhibition that might live on forever, as nearly every part of it is recyclable.
“There is almost nothing in this exhibition that will not be used again after we shut this down, which has always been a part of the plan,” says Cathy Frankel, the museum’s vice president for exhibitions and collections.
The project, designed by New York-based firm LAB at Rockwell Group, took three weeks to build. Among “Lawn’s” highlights are the 18 hammocks suspended from the hall’s 100-foot-high ceiling grid. Each one features speakers so visitors can listen to Whoopi Goldberg, Venus Williams, Bette Midler and other celebrities share summertime memories via recordings.
The installation also has a wide slate of special programming. There will be extended, late-night hours on Wednesdays (6-9 p.m.) with music from D.C. DJ Henrietta Stack$ and food and drinks for purchase. Movie nights will take place on Thursdays beginning sometime in August, with a film lineup to be announced.
But the setting raises a question: Can these activities be just as fun as experiencing the real deal outdoors?
“What’s better than doing [something like] Screen on the Green where it’s air-conditioned and there are no bugs?” Frankel says.
National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW; Thu. through Sept. 2, $16.