Planet Word, a revolutionary museum dedicated to the power, beauty, and fun of language and to showing how words shape the human experience, will open for the public on October 22nd. Housed in Washington, D.C.’s historic Franklin School, Planet Word will be the world’s first voice-activated museum, featuring immersive galleries and exhibits that will engage visitors in experiencing words and language from a wide range of perspectives. General admission to the museum will be free.
All precautions were taken during the construction of the museum with regard to the pandemic.
“During the corona virus pandemic, our focus has remained on the health and safety of our employees, contractors, and future visitors. We’ve continued the work of designing immersive and interactive galleries, curating content to feature in our exhibits, and revitalizing the historic Franklin School, with deference to guidance from public health officials. Now, as we prepare to open Planet Word in October, I want to again thank the Planet Word staff and all of our partners for their tireless commitment to this project. I will be thrilled to finally – safely – open the world’s first museum dedicated to bringing language to life, ” said Planet Word Founder and CEO Ann Friedman.
The mission of Planet Word is to renew and inspire the love of words, language, and reading as the foundation of a strong modern democracy. The same has resonated with supporters throughout the nation. Since breaking ground in June 2018, Planet Word has been able to meet its initial $20 million goal to cover the creation of the museum’s exhibits, experiences, and start-up operating costs. Planet Word’s generous donors include – AT&T, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carolyn Bucksbaum, the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Ann and John Doerr, Microsoft Corporation, and Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman. The rehabilitation and restoration of the Franklin School as a home for the museum was funded and is being overseen by Ms. Friedman herself.
The word museum plans to open on a limited basis, requiring visitors to register in advance for timed tickets. Masks will be mandatory, and access to galleries will be controlled to maintain social distancing. Stylus pens compatible with its interactive exhibits will be made available to avoid the need to touch surfaces. Ticketing information and details of Planet Word’s guidelines can be found at PlanetWordMuseum.org.
Planet Word has also announced a multifaceted partnership with Shared_Studios, a global collective that creates meaningful human connections between people separated by distance and difference through transformative conversations in both immersive and virtual environments.
The museum will be home to one of Shared_Studios’ famed Portals, shipping containers outfitted as studios featuring immersive AV technology that enables visitors to converse and interact with people from around the world as if they all are in the same room. Visitors to the Planet Word Portal will make connections with others across the globe – and in doing so discover the richness of languages and how words shape our lives, our decisions, and even our relationships.
Planet Word and Shared Studios are also going to launch DIVERCITIES, a program that will explore the commonalities – and the uniqueness – of languages in cities and cultures across the world. Each month, through moderated conversations with comedians, poets, artists, journalists, educators, and activists, DIVERCITIES will connect locals with peers in cities in the Portal network, including Lagos, Erbil, Milwaukee, Mexico City, Berlin, and Dallas.