Words matter. That’s the takeaway from a new interactive museum opening in Washington, DC this fall. Planet Word was originally slated to open in the spring but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the museum has announced its doors will open 22 October.
The 51,000-square-foot space housed in the Franklin School is designed to educate us about language arts through engaging exhibits about the spoken, sung and written word.
Dubbed the world’s first voice-activated museum, Planet Word will engage visitors through 11 immersive galleries. In one, guests can “paint” a scene with words using small brushes, which will change the virtual landscape and scene. In another, a 22-foot high Word Wall comprising more than 1000 three-dimensional words will light up and respond to voice, telling stories about how these words made their way into the English lexicon. And a huge chandelier/globe with 5000 LED lights will challenge visitors with word games incorporating language from dozens of locale and cultures - including two kinds of sign language.
In addition to the exhibit galleries, Planet Word will feature a word play puzzle room, a gift shop, an auditorium and classrooms, and will host ongoing live programming like “Wordshops,” performances and events, author readings and community conversations.