The Arts and Industries Building (AIB) is the Smithsonian’s second oldest building and a national hub for creative exchange between ideas and objects from our past and our future. AIB opened in 1881 as the country’s first U.S. National Museum, an architectural icon in the heart of the National Mall. Its soaring halls introduced millions of Americans to wonders about to change the world—Edison’s lightbulb, the first telephone, Apollo rockets.
Over the years, AIB was the origin and incubator for almost every other Smithsonian museum, debuting everything from dinosaurs to rocket ships. Never fully renovated, the building closed completely in 2004 due to structural concerns before reopening in 2021 with the landmark FUTURES exhibition.
To celebrate the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary in 2021, AIB reopened for the first time in two decades with FUTURES, the first building-wide exploration of the future on the National Mall. On view November 21, 2021, through July 6, 2022, FUTURES featured a vast array of interactives, artworks, tech, and ideas that were glimpses into humanity’s next chapter.