This past year saw incredible movement toward making Planet Word a reality — we are now just two years away from opening! Indeed, since I wrote my original “message from the founder” on this website a year ago, much has happened. Although my original mission and goals for Planet Word have remained the same — to create a place where words will be honored, respected, marveled at and elicit surprise and delight — we have forged a clear path on how best to do that:
- We found a fabulous home for the museum in the historic Franklin School in downtown D.C. Not only is it the perfect size for the museum — accommodating the gallery spaces, auditorium, classrooms, language research lab, retail shop, and restaurant we envisioned — but its storied past aligns perfectly with our mission, being the site of a telecommunications breakthrough by Alexander Graham Bell in 1880 and a place of learning and architectural distinction since its 1869 groundbreaking.
- We hired Patty Isacson Sabee as Executive Director, an experienced museum professional to guide us through the challenges of a start-up operation.
- We retained the exhibit design firm Local Projects to develop the gallery experiences and look and feel of the gallery spaces.
- We have been working closely with the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle to renovate and restore the Franklin School to its former glory while creating a workable museum space that respects the historic importance of the building façade and interior décor.
- We launched a fun and continually-updated blog to reflect the diversity of language topics that visitors can expect to encounter at Planet Word. And you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook, too!
- We started active fundraising to support the design, fabrication, and installation of the museum’s unique, original experiences, and are pleased to count the Bloomberg Philanthropies among our earliest major donors.
So hold on to your hats as we continue our rapid progress toward establishing Planet Word! Watch this space to read about our progress or walk by 13th and K if you happen to be in Washington, D.C. You can also send us an email at [email protected] or make an online donation at www.planetwordmuseum.org/donate. We are happy to count you among our friends and supporters and welcome you as a member of our burgeoning Planet Word community.
— Ann Friedman, founder, Planet Word