Speak!16 December 2020
/ A high-tech museum dedicated to the power of language opened its doors in Washington, D.C. /
“Democracy depends on literate citizens.” This is the philosophy on which philanthropist Ann Friedman created Planet Word, a new museum dedicated to the power and fun of language and to the written and spoken word that opened its doors in Washington, D.C., on October 21st.
This mission to renew and inspire a love of words, language, and reading as the foundation of a strong modern democracy has resonated with supporters throughout the nation: since June 2018, Planet Word has garnered funds for $20 million (enough to cover the creation of the exhibits, experiences, and start-up operating costs). The world’s first voice-activated museum is therefore open, featuring immersive galleries and exhibits that will engage visitors of all ages in experiencing words and language from a wide range of perspectives.
Planet Word features ten immersive learning galleries designed by exhibit design firm Local Projects which use technology in imaginative, ingenious ways to reimagine the modern museum experience. Among the museum’s voice-activated exhibits is “Where Do Words Come From?”, a 6.5m-tall talking word wall that shares the story of the English language through a conversation with visitors and extraordinary light effects. Other highlights include an acoustically-sealed room where visitors use a teleprompter to deliver one of eight historically significant speeches; a karaoke lounge where music lovers will learn secrets of great songwriting; and a secret poetry nook hidden in the stacks of a magical library. In other galleries, visitors can create an advertising campaign, literally paint with words using “smart” paint brushes, and converse with native speakers of widely spoken and endangered languages.
In the courtyard entrance, an art installation by…
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