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Arts + Industries Building

'FUTURES' at Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building

Your Guide to ‘FUTURES’

Go time traveling at the Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building

Smithsonian's recently renovated masterpiece unveils a groundbreaking new exhibit that will take you backwards and forwards in time – no DeLorean needed.

FUTURES is the Smithsonian’s first major building-wide exploration of the future and reopens the institution’s oldest museum for the first time in nearly two decades. The part-exhibition, part-festival, which opens Nov. 20 and runs through July 6, 2022, celebrates the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary with 32,000 square feet featuring more than 150 awe-inspiring objects, ideas, prototypes and installations that fuse art, technology, design and history to help visitors imagine many possible futures on the horizon. Read on for more fascinating details of this once-in-a-lifetime, only-in-DC experience and make sure to mark the calendar for the Futures We Dream community weekend, which will feature a talk from Monica O. Montgomery, social justice and programming curator, on community action and storytelling (Jan. 14), a virtual film premiere followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers (Jan. 15) and a special family day (Jan. 16).


Like all good futures, it starts with a party.

The celebration officially kicks off with FUTURES Remixed on opening weekend (Nov. 19-21), a free festival that includes in-person tours, a public concert on Saturday, a family day on Sunday and virtual conversations, performances and previews across all three days. Like the installation itself, this weekend-long party will invite people of all ages to experience a radically imagined future when those of diverse perspectives come together to learn, problem solve and create. Make sure to RSVP and prepare for a riveting slate of programming featuring Bill Nye, Kal Penn, Mariah the Scientist and many more.


Spirit of St. Louis - Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Institution

You can see what’s next in the place where it all started.

The history of the “mother of museums” is a complicated one. However, there’s one common thread throughout: its status as a home for big ideas and modern marvels. Inspired by the World’s Fair of 1876, the National Museum (as it was then known) gradually evolved from a real-time showcase of history (the Spirit of St. Louis was displayed there just two weeks after it flew) to an incubator for seven Smithsonian collections (including Air and Space, Natural History and American History). Now, Futures Past will highlight artifacts from throughout Smithsonian’s history as part of the Arts + Industries Building’s (AIB) transformative new chapter.


Your mind will be blown as soon as you walk in the door – or “cross the threshold” – into the Expanded Present

Soo Sunny Park’s Expanded Present will greet you upon your entrance to AIB. The iridescent installation serves as a portal from the present into the future – an “in between” space of sorts. Created with metal studs, fencing and a material created by NASA called “dichroic glass,” Expanded Present will reflect light in a variety of ways throughout the day based on the viewer’s position, weather and time.


FUTURES is a living exhibit activated by the user.

You will be able to turn the future into a playful adventure inside Futures that Inspire, with numerous interactive elements at your disposal. Doing Nothing With AI, an installation by designer Emanuel Gollob, invites you to creatively daydream. Step into a futuristic landscape with artists Tamiko Thiel and collaborator /p, who present a wildflower meadow via augmented reality. Imagine new foods, species, habitats, materials and much, much more.


Experience how technology can unite all of us.

FUTURES also dives into how our “normal” may look in the years ahead. Futures that Work highlights fascinating technological inventions that can serve as solutions in the fields of travel, space exploration, farming and the preservation of cultural heritages. Showcased innovations include the Virgin Hyperloop Pegasus, the BioSuit and the Mineral Rover. In Futures that Unite, you can discover new, productive ways to collaborate, connect and tap into our common humanity. Co-design a sustainable and inclusive community with an AI design partner at “The Co-Lab,” journey into the forest with Devan Shimoyama’s “The Grove” installation and watch how communities come together to make dreams come true through the “Futures We Dream” documentary series.

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