WASHINGTON — Lovers of language, rejoice!
Planet Word, a museum dedicated to language and linguistics, is set to open next May in the Franklin School building off of 13th and K streets in downtown D.C. The school, which is on the National Historic Landmark and National Register of Historic Places, was also the site of Alexander Graham Bell's "photophone transmission."
The 51,000 square foot museum will feature immersive exhibitions and interactive galleries focused on the history of speech, oratory and. Visitors can learn how to create marketing campaigns and recite famous speeches, and can also hear spoken word poetry and authors read excerpts from popular books.
The museum is also expected to offer classes ranging from songwriting to sign language and will have a language lab where visitors can hear from linguists and learn updated research. There will also be a gallery focused on international languages, with 31 "language ambassadors" speaking in their native languages and teaching introductory courses.
David Crystal, a member of the advisory board for the museum and linguist, said he hopes the museum will encourage people to learn the history of language and encourage understanding others.
"It's a place where you can admire the linguistic footprints of others, and leave your own," Crystal said.
The museum, which is privately funded, has currently raised $16 million of the $20 million needs to cover the creation of the museum’s exhibits and various other operating costs.
It's expected to open May 31.