Summer has ended and fall is rolling in, and that means beaches all over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are closing for the season. Even The Beach in Washington, D.C., is wrapping things up. You may be asking yourself, where is there a beach in D.C.? Well, inside the National Building Museum, of course.
In an effort to show that good architecture isn’t just something to look at, the National Building Museum opened The Beach exhibit this summer. You could escape from the heat and relax in an outdoor lounge chair, but ocean water is not something you’d find at this indoor beach. Instead, visitors came to swim in a sea of recyclable plastic balls. That’s right – a giant ball pit! The Beach was a welcome place for anyone who couldn’t make it to the coast this summer, but unfortunately this sea had a knack for swallowing up small items.
It was so hard to search for anything that fell beneath the surface of these plastic orbs that these items became, for all intents and purposes, lost at sea. When volunteers recently took apart the exhibit, they found a treasure trove of belongings lost by “swimmers” over the past few months. Among the items dredged from the deep were 32 hats, 2 guitar picks, 31 Metro SmarTrip cards, a book on amphibians of North Carolina, several wedding rings, and $433.24 worth of lost money.
Realizing that some of these items had sentimental value, the National Building Museum reached out to the public and was able to return 60 percent of what they found. The Beach exhibit will not be returning next summer, but the National Building Museum has promised to produce more creative exhibits in the future.