News & Politics

DC’s Getting Three New Museums. Why To Be Excited—And a Bit Skeptical

A quick look at Glenstone, Planet Word, and the National Law Enforcement Museum

Photograph of Glenstone by Iwan Baan.

Does Washington really need more museums? Sure! Here are three upcoming spots we’re eager to check out.

Glenstone Museum’s pavilions expansion

Opens October 4

On a 230-acre estate in Potomac, Glenstone has a reputation for inaccessibility. That could change with this major upgrade.

Why we’re excited: The new gallery building will greatly increase Glenstone’s exhibit space, and the impressive grounds add a lot to the experience.

What gives us pause: Potomac is a long way from the Mall. Reservations will also still be required, making it more challenging to visit than a typical museum.

Planet Word

Opens in 2019

The 149-year-old Franklin School building is being transformed by philanthropist Ann Friedman into a space dedicated to language.

Why we’re excited: Expect it to be substantive and fun: The advisory board contains both linguistics profs and New York Times puzzle guru Will Shortz.

What gives us pause: We love words as much as anyone, but is this really the best use for the historic building?

National Law Enforcement Museum

Opens October 13

Photograph of National Law Enforcement Museum rendering courtesy of museum.
Photograph of National Law Enforcement Museum rendering courtesy of museum.

President Clinton okayed the use of federal land in 2000, but the recession derailed fundraising. Now it’s finally set to open.

Why we’re excited: From a look at the 911 system to an interactive exhibit letting visitors learn investigative tactics, it promises to be immersive and informative.

What gives us pause: Will the museum be a mere cheerleader, or will it seriously grapple with racism, police brutality, and other crucial issues?

This articles appears in the August 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

Editorial Fellow