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Two New Distractions for Hot Days

One is sure to be popular on Instagram feeds; the other is a home run—literally
Everything isn't as it seems at the National Building Museum's "Fun House" exhibit, which opened this week. All photos by Noah Kalina.

There’s another “white house” in DC this summer—and, like the one on Pennsylvania Avenue, it may confound you and make you question reality.

“Fun House,” this year’s Summer Block Party installation at the National Building Museum, is a full-size, all-white house in the museum’s grand atrium. Architecture fans in particular might be intrigued by the structure, which aims to make viewers question ordinary objects and spaces—a chair, a door, a bedroom—and see them in new ways. Those who recall the museum’s 2015 “Beach” installation, also designed by the New York firm Snarkitecture, will recognize those same plastic balls used again as “water”—this time, they fill the house’s pool, hot tub, and bathtub.

“Fun House” opened on July 4 and runs through September 3, Labor Day, with Late Nights on Wednesdays. Admission is $16 for adults; $13 for seniors, AARP members, students, and youth ages 3-17; and $10 for Blue Star family members. Admission is free to DC residents during special ward days; click here for the schedule. Admission is also free for museum members ($60 and up for individuals, $90 and up for families). The National Building Museum is located at 401 F St., NW in DC.

Meanwhile, another new exhibit in town will inspire wonder in anyone who likes our national pastime. “Baseball Americana,” at the Library of Congress, brings together nearly 150 objects that cover two centuries of the game, including unpublished photographs, old video footage, scouting reports (such as Branch Rickey’s write-up on Hank Aaron), rarely seen baseball cards (including the earliest known card, from 1865), and even what’s considered the sport’s Magna Carta—a handwritten manuscript from 1857 laying out the “Laws of Base Ball,” including the nine-inning format and 90-foot distance between bases.

The exhibit runs through June 2019, in the Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First St., Southeast, in DC. Admission is free.

Everything—from the “ground” to the walls to the roof—is white.
The entrance features a cave-like foam doorway, a broken mirror, and a ceiling hung with casts of Air Jordan sneakers.
The “back yard” pool features thousands of plastic balls. Visitors can jump right in.

The back yard Playhouse plays with scale and proportion.
“Baseball Americana” features rarely-seen baseball cards, photographs, and wonderful old game footage. All images courtesy of the Library of Congress.
A 1911 portrait of Washington Senators’ player Walter Johnson that was used for his baseball card.
Babe Ruth’s leather baseball shoes.
The uniform worn by Dorothy “Dot” Ferguson, a Rockford Peach, in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Visitors can pose behind the make-your-own-baseball-card cutaway.
A wall of statistics and information, developed in conjunction with ESPN, features rotating panels featuring clues and answers.

 

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Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Bikes and Hikes, Fairs and Festivals, Great Small Towns, and the Washington Bucket List. She lives in Arlington.