Exhibits

Welcome to Planet Word! Get ready to be inspired by the power, fun, and beauty of words while you explore our many interactive galleries and exhibits.

As you enter through our front gates, your experience begins beneath a mesmerizing Speaking Willow tree that sets the stage for what you’ll encounter in the museum. You’ll hear murmurs in hundreds of languages as you pass under the branches of this unique sculpture, created by renowned contemporary artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

Once inside, we recommend starting on the third floor and working your way down.

Museum map
THIRD FLOOR
Babies on framed monitors mounted on a light blue wallBabies on framed monitors mounted on a light blue wall

First Words

How do we learn to speak our first language? Watch the whole process unfold, from babbling babies to talkative toddlers.

A girl sitting with a standing microphone in front of her and brightly colored letters and words projected on her faceA girl sitting with a standing microphone in front of her and brightly colored letters and words projected on her face

Where Do Words Come From?

The 22-foot-tall wall of words speaks for itself — literally! Our talking word wall shares the story of the English language, exploring the many forces that shaped the words we use today.

Visitors learning languages on tablets in the Spoken World gallery with a large globe to the leftVisitors learning languages on tablets in the Spoken World gallery with a large globe to the left

The Spoken World

Dive headfirst into the awe-inspiring diversity of languages from around the world. Meet speakers and signers from all over the globe, and let them introduce you to what’s unique about their own language.

SECOND FLOOR

Lend Me Your Ears

Friends, Romans, countrymen — it’s your turn to make your voice heard! Here you can deliver a famous speech using a teleprompter and discover what made it immortal.

Two children in the Word Worlds gallery. They are backlit, and the wall behind them is a vibrant swirl of colors with descriptive words like "tempestuous," "crepuscular," and "magical" at the bottom.Two children in the Word Worlds gallery. They are backlit, and the wall behind them is a vibrant swirl of colors with descriptive words like "tempestuous," "crepuscular," and "magical" at the bottom.

Word Worlds

Paint with words! Dip your brush into verdant, surreal, or luminous and thrill as you transform the room around you with color, sound, and motion.

The Library

Enter a magical library where books come to life before your eyes. Find the hidden door to a serene poetry nook, and discover other secrets hidden in the stacks.

Unlock the Music

Be the star of the show! Choose an iconic song to sing karaoke-style and learn the techniques that help songwriters put together lyrics and create a hit.

Joking Around

Who’s the funniest person in your family? Find out in our humor gallery — and see who will be the first to laugh!

FIRST FLOOR

I’m Sold!

How do advertisers do it — constantly getting your attention and making you want their products and services? Learn the turns of phrase they use to make their goods and causes stand out, and try writing an ad yourself.

Words Matter

How have words changed your life? Share your story in our fully-equipped recording booth, and listen to the stories of others who have felt the power of words.

Lexicon Lane

Get ready for a word-sleuthing adventure and discover mysteries galore in our special puzzle room. Reserve a puzzle case and search for clues along Lexicon Lane — great for team bonding or solo sleuthing!

Located on our third floor.

  • Did you know?

    Perhaps ironically, the word “sesquipedalophobia” means “the fear of long words.”
  • Did you know?

    “Contronyms” are words that contain multiple meanings that are complete opposites of each other. For example, “oversight” means both “the action of overseeing something” and “a failure to notice something.”
  • Did you know?

    There are over 7,000 languages worldwide, but more than half the world’s population speaks only 23 of these languages.
  • Did you know?

    The first entirely artificial language was the Lingua Ignota, a private mystical cant recorded in the 12th century by St. Hildegard of Bingen.
  • Did you know?

    The 10 most-used letters in English are E, A, R, I, O, T, N, S, L, and C.
  • Did you know?

    Eels, llamas, and aardvarks, ooh my! In English, there are only four letters that appear as double letters at the beginning of a word: A, E, L, and O.
  • Did you know?

    A “deipnosophist” is a person who’s really good at making conversation at the dinner table.
  • How do you get a dog to stop eating your books?

    Take the words right out of its mouth!
  • What's the difference between a cat and a comma?

    A cat has claws at the end of its paws, but a comma’s a pause at the end of a clause.
  • The past, the present, and the future walk into a bar...

    It was tense.
  • Is there a word that uses all the vowels including y?

    Unquestionably.
  • Riddle me this

    What did the intransitive verb say when told it was pretty? (Answer: Nothing. Intransitive verbs can’t take complements.)
  • Riddle me this

    What does an island and the letter T have in common? (Answer: They’re both in the middle of water.)
  • Riddle me this

    What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? (Answer: Short)
  • Riddle me this

    What starts with an e, ends with an e, and contains just one letter? (Answer: An envelope!)
  • Riddle me this

    What begins with a t, ends with a t, and has t in it? (Answer: A teapot!)
  • Riddle me this

    What’s in centuries, hours, and years, but not minutes, days, or seconds? (Answer: The letter R!)
  • Quote them on it

    “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx
  • Quote them on it

    “The past is always tense, the future perfect.” — Zadie Smith
  • Quote them on it

    “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” — Toni Morrison
  • Quote them on it

    “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only once.” — George R.R. Martin
  • Quote them on it

    “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” — Nelson Mandela