Sparks are flying at the National Museum of American History. Actual sparks, that is. Workers in hard hats and reflective vests are busy preparing for the museum’s west wing to reopen with exhibitions devoted to American innovation, enterprise, democracy and culture. The 120,000-square-foot three-story space has been closed for the past two years. The project will cost over $158 million.
The first floor of the wing, which the museum plans to reopen in July 2015, will feature artifacts related to American innovators such as Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. More contemporary innovators will also be represented, including Ralph Baer, considered the father of video games, whose entire workshop will be on view. The floor will also have a demonstration kitchen and student education space.
The second floor, to reopen in 2016, will feature exhibitions related to immigration and democracy. The third floor, set for 2017, will have a performance hall and exhibitions related to American culture.