The Big Build – National Building Museum



This past Saturday was The Big Build at the National Building Museum in DC. We’re big fans of the museum, but we’ve never been to this annual event. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be adding it to our regular late summer/early fall rotation. We had an awesome time. Definitely recommended.

The entire museum was filled with all manner of manly toys and Bob the Builder-type tools (and guys). It’s geared toward kids, so there are a ton of hands-on activity and “craft” stations. It even spilled out onto the grounds around the building with a “truck petting zoo” where the little ones could clamber over a flat-bed truck and a few smaller bobcats and earth movers.



The Roarbots tried their hands at bricklaying, wood carving, pipe cutting, drywalling, and–of course–Lego building. They brought home piggy banks made of PVC piping and plastic “hard hats,” which Sam still wears around the house.



The place was packed–uncomfortably so at times and in places. That’s fairly par for the course at an event like this, though. The scope of the museum does lessen the claustrophobia, and it wasn’t so bad that I ever wanted to escape. The lines for the truck petting zoo were the most unbearable, with parents letting their kids stay in the driver’s seat for far too long. Pro tip: You don’t need to take a 5-minute video of your little ones sitting and fiddling with some knobs and levers. One or two shots are good enough. See?




Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.