SOURCE: National Building Museum

March 11, 2014 11:00 ET

National Building Museum Displays Acquisitions by Architects, Artists, & Inventors: Raymond Kaskey, Victor Lundy, Laurie Simmons, Jay Swayze, & More

Cool & Collected Shows Off Unparalleled Building-related Collection

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - March 11, 2014) - The National Building Museum invites you to take a peek into its collections at our newest exhibition, Cool & Collected: Recent Acquisitions, open March 8, 2014 to May 25, 2015.

Featuring items as varied as a modern doll house designed by Laurie Simmons and Peter Wheelwright (one of its residents is even based on Simmons' daughter, Lena Dunham of HBO's Girls), an industrial device for bending sheet metal, items from the personal archive of monumental sculptor Ray Kaskey, and much more, Cool & Collected shows the varied ways in which we can learn from architecture and design.

These physical pieces of our built environment-from the tools that help create it to the toys that help explain it-give us ways to understand the built world and ideas about how to improve it. Also featured:

  • A complete salesman's kit from the infamous, Cold War-era Underground Homes company. In the 1960s and 1970s, Jay Swayze tried to convince Americans to invest in top-of-the-line dugouts, arguing that nuclear and security threats warranted the move. The kit includes photographs of the few underground homes that were actually built as well as suggested floor plans.
  • Decorative terra cotta, a lightweight and beautiful fireproof building material, from several important buildings in Chicago and New York City, including the Audubon Ballroom where Malcolm X was killed in 1965 and the Helen Hayes, an old-time Broadway theater that was demolished in 1982 to make room for a luxury hotel.
  • An in-depth look at the work of Ray Kaskey, who is most famous for his work in Washington, D.C. at the National WWII Memorial, where he sculpted 24 panels illustrating the history of the conflict both abroad and on the home front. His work across the country also includes the Portlandia statue in Portland, Oregon (inspiration for the hit comedy show Portlandia), a pediment for the Nashville Symphony hall, and the figure of Queen Charlotte who welcomes visitors to an airport in North Carolina. Visitors can examine scale models of all of these projects, along with drawings, molds, and documentation.

"We have been incredibly fortunate to receive amazing donations over the past few years," said Sarah Leavitt, curator. "This is a wonderful opportunity to not only showcase our recent acquisitions but also give visitors a glimpse of the array of items we collect at the National Building Museum."

Materials in storage are available for researchers or press with an appointment. These include approximately 75,000 photographic images, 68,000 architectural prints and drawings, 100 linear feet of documents and 4,500 objects, including material samples, architectural fragments, and building toys.

Press images, captions, and credits are available at

Admission to Museum exhibitions is $8 for adults, $5 for youth, students, and seniors, and free for National Building Museum members and children under three. Visit to purchase tickets online.

The National Building Museum is America's leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit Connect with us on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook:

The following files are available for download:

Contact Information