WASHINGTON, DC — As more than 3,000 visitors took part in traditional and contemporary building crafts at the all-day “Festival of the Building Arts” on September 15, 2001, sponsored by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), many also took time to reflect on the week’s tragedies and thank trade workers for building and rebuilding the United States. The festival is an annual event held at the National Building Museum here, where visitors have the opportunity to work side-by-side with master craftspeople, from blacksmiths and bricklayers to iron workers, to discover the skills and trade secrets employed in the building arts. A variety of construction trades were represented, where families participated in stone carving, creating their own plaster casts, making artwork out of nuts and bolts, and exploring construction equipment such as cranes. Throughout the exhibit hall were posters reading: “This week America has experienced an unprecedented tragedy. Precious lives have been lost, and major symbols of the strength of our built environment and country have been destroyed or damaged. During this time of national mourning, the National Building Museum and our sponsor, the Associated General Contractors of America, believe that presentation of this year’s ‘Festival of the Building Arts’ is an appropriate and positive way to commemorate the people and buildings that senselessly have been annihilated. “Today, as you learn about many building arts, the Museum hopes that you gain an appreciation of the construction skills and crafts that contribute to building a strong America.” “My enthusiasm for the National Building Museum was further confirmed,” one participant said. “A well-organized, fun, and educational event, I could barely pull my children away after two hours. In the wake of last week’s tragedies, it was a joy to witness so many energetic children expressing their creativity.” The museum, which was created by an act of Congress in 1980, is a private, nonprofit institution that examines and interprets American achievements in building through exhibitions and programs.

Publication date: 11/05/2001