The new Planet Word Museum

For anyone who loves language, has kids of reading age, and enjoys immersive, highly interactive exhibits, the new Planet Word is the place to be!

As you enter the courtyard and pass under the Speaking Willow Tree, you’ll hear murmurs in hundreds of languages.

You can try your hand (or is that speech?) at any number of different languages from around the world in this exhibit.

Ever wondered about the origins of words in the English language? This ‘speaking wall’ will prompt you for words and explain how they came about.

Here, you can learn about rhymes and assonance and how words are put together in songs. You can even do a bit of karaoke (no alcohol at hand though) 🙂

Want to know what makes for a good joke (I’ll refrain from political references…)?

Here you can use ‘paint brushes’ dipped in various color buckets to learn about nature’s colors and cycles.

A museum about words isn’t complete without a library. All sorts of interesting things happen in this one!

For instance, you can pick up a book, lay it down and hear someone read it aloud.

Or you can hear from someone who’s been influenced by a particular book

You can test yourself on the techniques of persuasion through language that advertisers use: that may come in handy next time you shop online!

And, of course, words are all important when (mis)used in political and social movements. This room offers some poignant interviews on that topic.

Go have fun! And may the word be with you 🙂

Planet Word is located on 13th and K and had its grand opening in 2020 — just prior to the lockdown. It is now open for visits again, with free timed entry tickets that you can reserve on the museum’s site.


Guest author Michele Egan documents life in D.C. and all over the world. You can see more of her photography at her website or blog or on Instagram @micheleegan2.

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