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218
Understanding the American Experience
The final grand challenge posed by Secretary Wayne Clough for the new strategic plan of the Smithsonian is explained by the sentence: “America is an increasingly diverse society that shares a history, ideals, and an indomitable, innovative spirit. We will use our resources across disciplines to explore what it means to be an American and...
209
Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet
This is the second of the grand challenges posed by Secretary Wayne Clough for the new strategic plan of the Smithsonian, with the explanatory sentence: “We will use our resources across scientific museums and centers to significantly advance our knowledge and understanding of life on earth, respond to the growing threat of environmental change, and...
187
A Resource for All Designers?
James Smithson’s Gift
 “I then bequeath the whole of my property…to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge…” James Smithson (1765-1829) James Smithson As Cooper-Hewitt a national design organization and a part of the Smithsonian, I wonder...
180
Do I want an iPad?
Photo: Apple, Inc As the popularity of eBooks and eInk surges, I wonder about the impact on book publishing and ponder the pleasures of traditional paper books. Why would anyone want an electronic book? After all, a beautifully designed and produced paper book is so wonderful! It’s easy to carry around and very robust. The...
14
Sustainable Sampling
At the end of the introduction to the Multiple Choice exhibition, the curator reflects that, “as contemporary design industries move to open-sourcing and electronic formats for the marketing of their products, physical samples may soon become obsolete.” From a future academic and archival view point, this is a sad possibility, as material sampling formats contain...
Indie Publishing
One of the themes running through Design Life Now is the opening up of media to everyday citizens. There’s been an explosion of “social media”—Web sites that allow people to build communities and talk with each other on-line. (Blogs like this are one example.) This communications revolution is affecting print as well digital media. Fueled...