What Goes Up

A Stairs Tower


I was able to spend a few quick minutes yesterday inside the new National Museum of African American History and Culture here in Washington, D.C.

One of my objectives was to make sure that I appreciated that it was a 2016 purpose-designed major museum building, a fairly rare occurrence in itself.

How does present-day museum design theory affect construction and presentation?

It was crowded, of course, and I only saw a few exhibits, but they were superb.

To save time I skipped the elevators and escalators in favor of the fire stairs.

On entering the stairwell I was presented with stairs everywhere leading to the brief thought “which ones’s are mine?”

And then the (obvious) answer, “The one’s I’m on, of course.”


There are two side-by-side sets of stairs in the tower and the initial visual impression is challenging as the brain tries to make sense of how they all fit together.

They surely do but it is arresting all the same.

I can’t wait to go back to the museum, maybe I will take the escalator next time.

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