Can you explain the type of work you do at Cooper Hewitt?
I edit, store, and deliver images. I have been fortunate to work on some large imaging projects that will be seen in the museum opening—from the interactive digital displays to the beautiful books about our collections objects.

What was your background before coming to Cooper Hewitt?
I attended the University of Connecticut for an MFA in photography and studio art. While I was completing my degree and teaching, I worked in the library digitizing rare books and manuscripts. Later, I gained more experience as a photography and publications management intern at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
There is something so satisfying about broadening access to the collection; a well-made image could be the seed for a new research project or inspire an emerging designer or artist.

What has been your most memorable moment at Cooper Hewitt?
Seeing our team working to photograph some larger collection objects has been exciting. So much goes into making a picture. I remember when Door with Handle, 1925–1926, came into the photography studio after a larger coordination with conservation, registrars, and curatorial staff at our collection storage facility. It takes several hours to set up an object that large and fragile—all for a couple of images!

How has the renovation either opened new doors or posed new challenges for you?
It has been a busy year. I think everyone agrees we cannot wait to show the public the new Cooper Hewitt.

What are you most excited about once the museum reopens?
I hope to see people enjoying all the photography (and obviously the objects on display)!

How would you describe good design? Bad design?
Design at its best is accessible to everyone. We live in an image-saturated culture, and the design and cost of camera devices has allowed wider authorship and access than ever. I am excited to see how this grows and changes museums. Bad design is solely technology driven, with no space for the user’s creativity.

Finally, if you could redesign anything, what would it be?
I would redesign a bike path that is elevated above car traffic from Ridgewood, Queens to Manhattan so that I would not have to ride a packed subway car each morning!

One thought on “Meet the Staff: Allison Hale

[…] part two in a series on digitization. My name is Allison Hale, Digital Imaging Specialist at Cooper Hewitt. I started working at the museum in 2014 during the preparations for a mass […]

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