Over the next two weeks on the Cooper-Hewitt Design Blog, students from an interdisciplinary graduate-level course on the Triennial taught by the Triennial curatorial team blog their impressions and inspirations of the current exhibition,‘Why Design Now?’.



This year the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s Triennial: Why Design Now? explores topics of sustainable design. Current global climate changes and economic slumps have provided a platform for designers to create even more innovative works to aid the world around us. While design categories range from Communication and Energy to Simplicity and Prosperity, the overarching message is green innovation. And what better message to send to children?


Sustainable design is one of the largest growing sectors in the education environment, most notably in children’s learning. “Involving children in early sustainable design development ensures that they will make wise decisions for the environment while contributing to the overall green conversation later in life”, says Cooper-Hewitt Public Programs Manager Erin McCluskey.


Museum education programming, such as tours, design workshops and gallery conversations, are a critical part of exhibition learning. While gallery didactics aid in the understanding of the material, it is the mission of programming to provide innovative scholarship that contributes to the application of exhibition information.

To supplement the sustainable design discovery taking place throughout Why Design Now?, the Cooper-Hewitt Educational Department will organize workshops for children that encourage innovative and green design to answer daily challenges pertaining to Communication, Health, and Transportation.

Select Saturdays will be designated to Design Kids Tours+Workshops for Why Design Now?. Combining education with design, the programs include a family led scavenger hunt with corresponding workshops to enhancement understanding. The tours will inspire creative design strategies to respond to a given problem. These workshops can be adapted to any age group and will inspire learning and museum appreciation.

Ryan Massey
Cooper-Hewitt Decorative Arts and Design History MA program

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