I was surprised when I arrived at work yesterday morning when Pete (Ron Petersen), who makes the place clean and ready everyday, said cheerfully, “Great day for a photo-op!” I had no idea what he was talking about. It made sense in the middle of the morning, when Jennifer Northrop, our Director of Communications, handed me a T-shirt with the instruction to put it on and join everyone else on the steps on the garden side of the museum. Jennifer had been planning this photo for some time, with Ellen Lupton providing the design, and I was the only one who didn’t know about it.
The front of the shirt has the words “How might we…” on it next to a slightly abstracted image of a dandelion seed. The seed comes from the analogy that I use about spreading our message and activities when we are renovating the Carnegie Mansion. If the museum is like a dandelion flower, glowing gloriously yellow, when we close the building for the RE:DESIGN project, we hope to spread out across the city, country and world, like dandelion seeds blown far and wide, with their beautiful little parachutes helping them to land in physical and virtual space, each one carrying the seed of knowledge of the collection, design issues and design resources.
The “How might we…” quote comes from the form of questions that I like to pose in discussions and workshops, as the “We” implies that the topic can be addressed collectively, and the “How might..” communicates that the decisions are not yet taken and the outcomes are open for new creative solutions.