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Virtual reality illuminates National Building Museum’s inaugural history

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The Pension Building has hosted over 10 Presidents’ Inaugural balls

Photo via Phil Roeder

Originally, when Washington, D.C.’s Pension Building was constructed some time around 1887, it was used as a grand event space and went on to host 12 president’s inaugural events. Since then, the development, located at 401 F Street NW, transformed into the National Building Museum, which houses exhibitions and programs on architecture, engineering, and design.

Because of the upcoming Inauguration, the National Building Museum is offering guests to take a step back in time by using virtual reality to highlight the museum’s inaugural history. Hochlander Davis Photography created the experience, which can be viewed on a desktop computer, smartphone, and Google Cardboard. There are also free docent-led tours available sans virtual reality.

Along with virtual reality, the National Building Museum is also showcasing objects and documents related to the Museum’s Inaugural Balls in the exhibition, Cool & Collected. Some of the objects include a ticket from Theodore Roosevelt’s ball in 1901, a candle holder from Barack Obama’s 2009 ball, and stereographs from William McKinley’s 1887 ball.

William Henry Harrison’s Inaugural ball in the Pension Building
Photo via Library of Congress

Inaugural Ball Tour [National Building Museum.