Cooper Hewitt Interaction Lab Presents:
Activating Smithsonian Open Access

Grid of open access images featuring objects from Smithsonian Collections


Activating Smithsonian Open Access will commission up to six creative technology teams to design interactive experiences with the Smithsonian Institutions’s Open Access collections for people all over the globe. Made possible through the support of Verizon 5G Labs, the Interaction Lab will launch a request for proposals (RFP) in the coming weeks for digital tools and immersive experiences that offer creative interactions with the 2.8 million objects in the Smithsonian’s Open Access collections, a massive library of 2D and 3D assets available to be downloaded, altered, and even commercialized thanks to their release under a creative commons zero license.

From these proposals, we will award up to six $10,000 commissions to support teams in developing their ideas into functioning prototypes to be made available to the public. Our hope is to identify compelling projects to explore further funding and development with after the close of the program. Regardless of next steps, creators will own all IP resulting from the program outright.

Rather than addressing design opportunities inside a closed process, Activating Smithsonian Open Access seeks to stimulate new ideas by engaging creative professionals already working with museums and cultural institutions, as well as those in adjacent fields. Commissioned creators and teams will be offered support by Smithsonian, Verizon, and industry mentors throughout the duration of the program, into late spring.

If you’d like to be notified about our RFP launch, sign up for the Activating Smithsonian Open Access mailing list.

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