Planet Word, a revolutionary museum dedicated to the power, beauty, and fun of language and to show how words shape the human experience, opened its doors to the public.
Housed in Washington, D.C.’s historic Franklin School, Planet Word is the world’s first voice-activated museum, featuring immersive galleries and exhibits that will engage visitors of all ages in experiencing words and language from a wide range of perspectives. General admission is free.
Founded on the belief that literacy is fundamental to the health of democracy, Planet Word aims to inspire and renew a love of words, language and reading. Appreciation for the power of language fosters empathy and encourages civil discourse.
“Democracy depends on literate citizens. I hope that Planet Word can provide a forum for civil discourse and a place where our community, in all its vibrant diversity, can gather to share the words that bridge differences and forge solutions.”Planet Word founder and CEO Ann Friedman.
Planet Word is the world’s first major museum taking a high-tech approach to bringing language to life. It 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.
The gift shop was designed by Nate Berkus, the well-known interior designer, author, and television personality. In the spring, Planet Word looks forward to welcoming the buzzworthy, cause-casual eatery, Immigrant Food, as its restaurant partner – to be housed at the museum. Immigrant Food, whose values and mission align closely with Planet Word, opened its flagship location right next to the White House in 2019 to rave reviews.
Planet Word builds on the long history of innovation at the Franklin School, a National Historic Landmark building and the site of both one of the city’s first public schools and the world’s first wireless voice transmission, a feat achieved by Alexander Graham Bell in 1880.
Planet Word and Shared Studios’ DIVERCITIES initiative – a program that explores the commonalities and the uniqueness of languages in cities and cultures across the world – launched online in September. Each month, through moderated conversations with comedians, poets, artists, journalists, educators, and activists, DIVERCITIES will connect D.C. locals with peers in cities in the Portal network, including Lagos, Erbil, Milwaukee, Mexico City, Berlin, and Dallas.
Since breaking ground in June 2018, Planet Word has met its initial $20 million fundraising goal to cover the creation of the museum’s exhibits, experiences, and start-up operating costs. Planet Word’s generous donors include AT&T, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carolyn Bucksbaum, the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Ann and John Doerr, Microsoft Corporation, and Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman. The rehabilitation and restoration of the Franklin School as a home for the museum was funded and overseen by Ms. Friedman.
Planet Word will be open Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is free, with a suggested donation to support the museum’s mission-driven programs, exhibits, and educational outreach. To register for tickets and review visitor guidelines, visit PlanetWordMuseum.org.