The National Museum of American History, located in Washington D.C., is a museum that houses many artifacts from American history. How long will it last in a life without people?
1 day after people: The museum loses power. The Star Spangled Banner's climate controlled exhibit shuts down. Lincoln's top hat sits alone in its case. the Kermit the Frog puppet, ruby slippers, and Archie Bunker's chair stand waiting for visitors who will never come.
1 year after people: The museum remains mostly unchanged. Other than a coat of dust, the exhibits remain the same. Outside, however, the bushes and lawns are out of control. The fountain outside has become a home for algae and pond scum.
5 years after people: The flags outside have faded. The first windows have broken, letting animals and water inside. The Star-Spangled Banner is showing signs of wear, but will hold up for now.
10 years after people: Most windows on the outside have broken. Animals have made their home in the building, tearing up the carpet and exposed fabric.
20 years after people: The glass cases in the lobby start to shatter. Artifacts inside are now vulnerable. The skylight, which broke years back, lets rain inside causing metal inside to rust faster.
50 years after people: Exhibit cases throughout the museum give way to oxygen, causing some objects to quickly fall apart. One such object is the Star-Spangled Banner. Oxygen penetrates its housing causing the flag to be quickly destroyed.
100 years after people: Most objects in the museum are deteriorating. Lincoln's top hat has lost the fur covering and is being attacked by moisture. Kermit the Frog's felt skin has been attacked by moths and other insects, leaving his green skin unrecognizable. The silk on the ruby slippers has broken down and the soles have rotted. Archie Bunker's chair has become home to a family of squirrels. Larger artifacts like the steam locomotive and statue of George Washington are less damaged but are breaking down.
200 years after people: The museum itself is crumbling. The columns inside have given up and the floors are straining. A section of floor collapses which causes a chain reaction that brings down the whole building, destroying anything inside.