The words “house” and “home,” while often used interchangeably, can conjure up very different mental images. From the building materials used to construct a house to a family dinner being enjoyed around a kitchen table, these are the elements that make up the aptly named new “House & Home” exhibition at the National Building Museum.


Some call the exhibition disjointed, whereas others say its broad subject range gives it a “universal appeal.” Amanda Kolson Hurley reports in The Architect’s Newspaper that a narrower focus would have helped to pull everything together, the way it did in the “Unbuilt Washington” exhibition. “A lot of care went into the details of “House & Home,” which makes its conceptual shagginess more disappointing,” she writes. But the Washingtonian’s Kathleen Bridges admires the great undertaking, calling it the museum’s “most ambitious project to date.”


While the scope of the exhibition is rather broad, clear themes do emerge from it. A slideshow in The Washington Post depicts scenes from the exhibition, portraying images from each of its six galleries: Living at Home, Building a House, Buying a Home, Models, Film, and Education Programs. By the end the disparate galleries do eventually come together to paint a picture that shows how Americans connect to the houses they build, the objects they use, and the communities they form.