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December 21, 2005 7:17 AM CST

Cityscapes Revealed


In honor of the museum's 25th anniversary, the National Building Museum is presenting a first-time survey of its holdings in the long-term exhibition Cityscapes Revealed: Highlights from the Collection.

Opening December 3, Cityscapes Revealed explores America's architectural heritage through original building fragments; rare, early 20th-century photographs; intricate architectural drawings; and more. The exhibition reflects the museum's rich permanent collection relating to quintessentially American, 20th-century-building typologies, from Beaux-Arts-style residences to main street storefronts and sleek downtown skyscrapers.

Conceived as a visual primer for decoding the urban environment, the exhibition is organized as a walking tour of the cityscape and anchored by a series of large architectural elements, including a copper dormer from the Carnegie Mansion on Millionaires' Row in Manhattan (1902); a sheet-metal section of Salt Lake City's legendary Z.C.M.I. department store (1901); and an Art Deco terra cotta window surround from the lost S.H. Kress & Co. five-and-dime in Phoenix (1933).

The exhibition also draws from a number of the museum's most significant collections, including the American Brick Collection. As a whole, the numerous collections represented will illuminate various facets of the building process and will document evolving American architectural styles, construction techniques and materials preferences.

The American Brick Collection is especially apropos to the National Building Museum, which is constructed with over 15 million locally produced bricks. Largely the labor of love of one collector, Raymond Chase, the museum's collection includes nearly 2,000 bricks from across the country and documents a wide variety of decorative styles, personalizations and marks. Dozens of these bricks are in the exhibition, including those giving sage advice such as "Pray." An interactive station where visitors can try their hand at different bonding patterns, such as running, American and Flemish bond, is also available.

Educational programming related to Cityscapes Revealed is offered throughout the exhibition, with programs for professionals, adults and youth.

The National Building Museum is America's premier cultural institution dedicated to exploring and celebrating architecture, design, engineering, construction and planning. For more information, visit

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