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– Free Hands-On, STEM-Focused Community Day for All Ages 
 – Annual event returns for the first time since 2019 –
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Building Museum announced today that The Big Build will return to the Museum on Saturday, November 5. This popular annual event has been hosted at the Museum for more than a decade and is returning for the first time since 2019. This free hands-on community day invites visitors of all ages to channel their inner builder and discover what it’s like to wear a hard hat, hammer a nail or drill a hole.
Building a brick wall is fun at The Big Build. Credit: National Building Museum / Emily Clack.

From 11 am to 4 pm, participants can visit dozens of different interactive stations presented by contractors, plumbers, electricians, iron workers, carpenters, and professionals in many other fields to explore and learn about their careers, skills and hobbies. Activities include a nail-driving contest and structural engineering station with an earthquake simulation to discover how buildings can be built to be more stable. Outside, the Museum’s West Lawn will transform into a “Petting Zoo” filled with construction equipment. Heavy machinery including a crane will be open for exploration.

No one is too young to participate in the nail driving contest at The Big Build. Credit: National Building Museum / Emily Clack.
New this year, Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts can earn their STEM Career Exploration badges by discovering the many career possibilities, speaking with professionals in STEM positions and imagining themselves in their dream jobs.
Learning to use a hammer at Miller & Long’s nail-driving contest, a classic Big Build activity station. Credit: National Building Museum / Kevin Allen Photography.

A Tech Room will present augmented reality demonstrations, VR Experiences, and other immersive digital activities to engage older children and teens. Using a mobile phone, visitors will be able to download an app and try a VR activity from global engineering firm Walter P Moore, that changes structure type from steel to concrete to wood to determine the amount of energy needed to create those structures. The International Union of Elevator Constructors will have a VR simulator allowing participants to move a lift around a job site, something that is done daily across the country.

Younger visitors will be entertained and inspired by stories about design and construction in the Storytime Room, including learning how architects, carpenters and roofers must work together to build a house.

“We could not be more thrilled to have The Big Build return in person to the Great Hall,” said Aileen Fuchs, President and Executive Director of the Museum. “This event will engage kids and adults alike, giving them the literal tools to build a wide array of objects and inspire their curiosity about how we can all play a role in planning, creating, constructing and improving the places where we live, work and play.”

Chiseling a tree trunk supervised by a master carpenter. Credit: National Building Museum / Emily Clack.

The Big Build is generously supported by Builder level sponsor Associated General Contractors of America; as well as The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, HITT Contracting, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, DAVIS Construction, Lockton, DPR Construction, Walter P Moore, PRO Mid Atlantic, Dewberry Engineers Inc., Buro Happold, Coca-Cola Consolidated, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. WETA Kids and Washington Parent Magazine are media sponsors.