A new era is dawning for the Franklin School, a historic 50,000-square-foot Adolf Cluss-designed building adjacent to downtown D.C.’s Franklin Square Park near McPherson Square. Yesterday marked the groundbreaking for Planet Word, an interactive museum dedicate to the power of language, which is slated to open in late 2019.
The restoration of Franklin School’s interiors for the museum is overseen by design firm Beyer Blinder Belle. This is one of 13 building in Washington, D.C. that has been given interior landmark protection, so it’s going to be careful going. The circa 1869-building’s been unoccupied since 2008.
Planet Word is fundraising for the museum — fittingly, A&TT is a corporate donor, considering this is the building’s roof is where Alexander Graham Bell made the first wireless voice transmission.
Here’s what’s in store for Planet Word: There will be a gallery where visitors can “paint” with words, a 5,000-LED globe with word games from languages across the world, and a voice-activated 22-foot-high word wall with 3-D words that will light up.
Here’s what the school looks like inside currently: it’s all soaring ceilings and lovely windows where the museum’s digital exhibits will soon be located. The new museum combined with an anticipated Franklin Park renovation will give this block a whole new look.