Things to do this Fall

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Chilly nights and falling leaves are here! Check out a list of arts & architecture events around town.


DATE & TIME: September 30th through October 29th,  See website for hours and additional events.  

LOCATION: 9004 Congressional Court, Potomac, MD

The 10th Annual DC Design House will be held from September 30 through October 29, 2017. Benefiting Children’s National Health System, the showhouse includes 23 beautifully-designed spaces, four boutiques, a Decade of Design celebration, and special events throughout the month in the home’s ballroom, plus a daily onsite café by Relish Catering. This year’s house is dedicated to Ann Lambeth, who was an avid supporter of the DC Design House and the design community.

Listed at $10.28 million by Fouad Talout and Pascale Karam of Long & Foster Real Estate, the four-story, 27,256 square-foot Potomac home includes nine bedrooms, nine full bathrooms, four half baths, lower level ballroom, cinema, two-story library flanked by his and her offices, and multiple kitchens. Built in 2009, the home sits on two acres and includes a pool and pool house with apartment and covered terrace. 

General Admission Tickets are $35 per person.

ARTECHOUSE: Spirit of Autumn


LOCATION: ARTECHOUSE is located at The Portals between Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza metro stations in Southwest, DC at 1238 Maryland Ave., just next door to the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

SPIRIT OF AUTUMN is a large-scale seasonal interactive installation from ARTECHOUSE’s creative team, utilizing the state of the art projection system installed by SILA SVETA, interactive wall technology and graphic powered by A-BLOK, and interactive floor projections created by NOIRFLUX.

Inspiring creativity, imagination, and play, this multi-sensory experience encourages children and adults alike to engage and collaboratively transform the exhibit space into a digital fall playground.  It all starts with visitors coloring in a leaf of their own on a paper, then watching it transform into a digital object and seeing their creation come to life over 270 degree wall projection. Then, as they move about smaller side galleries, they give life to a riotous forest floor in Through the Leaves, and in Autumn Dance their motion and gestures fill the gallery floor with swirling gushes of fall colors. Visitors will also be able to experience the debut of ARTECHOUSE's augmented-reality app, with visual surprises as they examine different objects within the space.

In the evening, the digital autumn landscape changes with the setting sun, ushering in the nighttime.

DC Design Week

Various events celebrating Design in the District.

Date & Time: October 20-28, 2017 See link for various event details.

Location: See link for various event details.

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

Date & Time: OCTOBER 20, 2017 – JANUARY 28, 2018, See link above for museum hours.

Location: Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)

This rare public display explores the unexpected intersection between craft and forensic science.

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death explores the surprising intersection between craft and forensic science. It also tells the story of how a woman co-opted traditionally feminine crafts to advance the male-dominated field of police investigation and to establish herself as one of its leading voices.

Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962) crafted her extraordinary “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death”—exquisitely detailed miniature crime scenes—to train homicide investigators to “convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.” These dollhouse-sized dioramas of true crimes, created in the first half of the 20th century and still used in forensic training today, helped to revolutionize the emerging field of homicide investigation.

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

This landmark exhibition examines the artistic exchanges among Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries from the mid-1650s to around 1680, when they reached the height of their technical ability and mastery of genre painting, or depictions of daily life. 

Date & TIme: October 22, 2017 - January 21, 2018, see website for museum hours.

Location: National Gallery of Art, West Building, Main Floor

  The Building Zone . Photo by Kevin Allen. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.

The Building Zone. Photo by Kevin Allen. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.


Location: National Building Museum, First Floor: G Street Side

The Building Zone is a hands-on introduction to the building arts designed especially for the Museum’s youngest visitors, ages 2–6. In this exploratory gallery, children can:

Build a tower or LEGO wall

Curl up with an architecture picture book in the Book Nook

Play pretend with construction play trucks in the Construction Zone

Imagine being a craftsperson complete with a hard hat, tool box, and construction vest

Explore the National Building Museum’s Project Playhouse, a life-size custom built “green” house sponsored by HomeAid and built by Pardee Homes

Just as a building’s foundation lays the groundwork for a structure, child-initiated play lays a foundation for learning. Through imaginative play, children learn to interact with others, recognize and solve problems, and gain confidence. Play helps children make sense of their physical and social worlds and their place within them. We invite our youngest visitors and their families to enjoy this space as they explore the world we build for ourselves.

Hours & Admission: Building Zone hours: 10 am–4 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 11 am–4 pm on Sundays

As with the Museum’s other exhibitions, the Building Zone is free for members. Otherwise, Building Zone entry is included in the admission ticket for all Museum exhibitions ($7 per child, $10 per adult). Admission to the Building Zone includes 45 minutes of play time. Building Zoneplay times start at 15 minutes after the hour and run to the top of the hour. Last entry is 3:15 pm. Find more Hours & Admission information.

The Building Zone. Photo by Kevin Allen.

Little Builders Storytime

On the first Tuesday of each month, the Museum introduces a new book during a read-aloud in the Building Zone’s Book Nook. The books explore themes such as patterns, city planning, construction, and celebration of other cultures. Families will then be invited to participate in corresponding hands-on play activities in the Building Zone.

Islamic Architecture for Kids

Date & Time: Saturday, October 28 2017, 10:00am-12:00pm 

Location: District ArchitectureCenter

Price: $15 for Children of DAC/AIA Members, $20 for Children of non-members

Registration required. Scholarships available.

Learn basic elements of architecture at the District Architecture Center! Students will learn about the structure, materials and forms of Islamic Architecture through a class that includes a tour of exhibit Design for Diversity: The Aga Khan Award for Architecture on view at the Center.  The session will conclude with a hands-on activity creating geometric designs.  The class will be taught by architect Kevin Storm, AIA and Executive Director Mary Fitch.

Ages: 9 - 12

Organized By: Washington Architectural Foundation's DACkids Programs

 2016 Canstruction 

2016 Canstruction 


Date & Time: Monday, November 20 2017 to Sunday, November 26 2017, See link for more details.

Location: National Building Museum

Join the Washington Architectural Foundation at the National Building Museum to see the build-out for CANstruction 2017!

2017 Theme: CANnect with Nature
Build Out: Sunday, November 19, 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Dates: Sunday, November 19 - Sunday, November 26, 2017

Canstruction is a nationwide program that aims to raise awareness about hunger. In DC, Canstruction is organized by the Washington Architectural Foundation as a creative design-build competition that benefits the Capital Area Food Bank through donations of canned goods. Teams from architecture and design firms from Washington, DC use their skills to build sculptures out of cans of food. The nutritious shelf-stable food is donated to the Capital Area Food Bank for distribution to those in need after the event.

Sponsored by: BluEdge, National Building Museum, Safeway, TW Perry