Can you explain a little bit about the type of work you do?

It’s often been said that people have a checkered past…well mine is more like a paisley one. I’ve done a little of a lot of things and I bring all that to bear here. I’m like the utility person, Jill of all trades, Swiss Army knife of the Registrar department. I’m a short term pinch hitter if any of the others go away or are out sick. My work varies all the time, a little art handling, inventory, set-up/break down, installation, writing P.O.’s, security, building maintenance, balloon animals for the holiday party….you get the idea. But the most important thing I try to do is to promote better communication between the various departments and the Registrars.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The variety and the people I get to meet and work with. Especially traveling you just never know what kind of situation awaits you.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Learning the ins and outs of D.C. policy.

What is your favorite Cooper-Hewitt program to date? Why?

Graphic Design—Now in Production has been my favorite show during the museum’s renovation. It has been a really wonderful experience going to the different travel venues to install the exhibition. I've met lots of very interesting people that way.

What was the most memorable moment for you at Cooper-Hewitt?

The first time I walked through the collection storage.

How has the renovation either opened new doors or posed new challenges for you?

They say you never lose your first impressions of people and places, so I have to keep in mind that I am not experiencing the Cooper-Hewitt under its normal Modus Operandi, I’m interested in seeing how it functions today say versus 2016. I’m really curious to know how that will shift the focus and duties of my job. 

Looking forward, what are you most excited about once the museum reopens?

Seeing everything safely in its place on opening day and absorbing the stories the Cooper-Hewitt has to tell. 

What is good design? Bad design?

I think design, in general, is really nothing more than creative problem solving. Good design, for me, is intuitive, organic, and endemic to the culture it functions within, but the very best design transcends itself to become universal. Bad design is riddled with pretense and narcissistic; it is more a statement of ego than really trying to eloquently resolve a predicament.

What is the future of design?

I think as the world has become a smaller place thanks to the internet, design will be more multicultural and inclusive. I’d love to see designers get away from the minimal boxy look of electronic devices. I think it will be greener in its thinking and have more organic forms inspired directly from nature and the rising influence of women globally.

Finally, if you could redesign anything, what would it be?

The U.S. Constitution. Designing doesn’t always have to be object based…one can design ideas as well. I think about 70% of it works, but I’d love to see it updated for the 21st century. I’d want it to reflect a more fair and equitable society. Something more along the lines of the current South African constitution. It needs to be broader more inclusive and universal. I’d like to see a 28th amendment passed that states the freedoms and liberties guaranteed by the constitution are limited to flesh and blood human beings, not corporations. 

One thought on “Meet the Staff: Kim Hawkins

I am a past co-worker with Kim from Point Reyes National Seashore. I am a volunteer. I have deeply missed her presence here. Her enthusiasm was so infectious. Her new ideas were ever flowing. She looks happy and I am glad she has found a home there. She is a wild spirit and the East Coast is better for it.
May the winds carry you far.

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