I recently visited the nonprofit museum Planet Word with my wife, Fabiola, my daughter, Khloe, and my mom, and I highly recommend it for a family outing. Planet Word is a language arts museum that opened in Washington, D.C. in October of 2020. The museum was created by philanthropist Ann B. Friedman, who is a former reading teacher and whose husband is New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, and it is the only museum in the country dedicated to the love of words. It is described as “the museum where language comes to life” – and does it ever.
The museum has several fun rooms. One room has a 22-foot wall of words. A voice will ask you to choose a word, and once you’ve chosen your word, the voice will then tell you how that word came to be in the English language. Our daughter’s favorite room was Word Worlds where you literally paint a word electronically onto a giant screen and the room is then transformed with color, sound and motion. My favorite room was the library, where books literally come to life before your eyes. There are glass box windows with a phrase from a book underneath them, and when you read the sentence allowed, that sentence comes to life with old fashioned animation. As someone who struggled with words in school, I would love to have been able to visit Planet Word and experience words coming to life.
If you are interested in how the words we use every day came to be, and especially if you want to tune your kids into learning about language in general, then I highly recommend going to Planet Word, which is for kids of all ages. There is also a restaurant and a gift shop on site. The museum is located in the historic Franklin School Building at 925 13th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
For more information, visit https://planetwordmuseum.org