About the exhibition

“Fills one with real optimism…”—New York Times

There has been a surge of design with and by people with a wide range of physical, cognitive, and sensory abilities. Fueled by advances in research, technology, and fabrication, this proliferation of functional, life-enhancing products is creating unprecedented access in homes, schools, workplaces, and the world at large. Access+Ability features over 70 innovative designs developed in the last decade. From low-tech products that assist with daily routines to the newest technologies, the exhibition explores how users and designers are expanding and adapting accessible products and solutions in ways previously unimaginable.

Highlights

A selection of objects featured in the exhibition.

Accessibility at Cooper Hewitt

In 2017, Cooper Hewitt committed itself to a campus-wide effort to broaden audiences and ensure the museum is welcoming to all. Toward that end, the museum is using its galleries and resources to raise awareness of accessible design innovation, inspire dialogue, and leverage the museum’s role as a design hub to promote problem-solving in support of inclusivity.

Cooper Hewitt offers a variety of access services and programs so that everyone may enjoy the museum to the fullest extent possible. Visit our Accessibility at Cooper Hewitt page to learn more.

Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access

Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access will take place in the first two weeks of February in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery, which will become a hub for conversations, activities, workshops, and events for all ages and communities on the topics of accessibility and inclusion. Collaborators will include the San Francisco-based studio Creative Growth, Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab, Google, and Mark Morris Dance for Parkinson’s Program.

supporters

A list of supporters of the exhibition and Cooper Hewitt Lab: AARP, Ford Foundation, August de los Reyes, Esme Usdan Exhibition Fund, Master's Program Fund, plus NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

from the blog

Drawing by Joseph Friedman of a design for a bendable straw for his patent application ca. 1930s.
Everyday Love Stories
A pioneer of inclusive design, August de los Reyes looks at the innovations inspired by loved ones.
An image of a man in a wheelchair taking part in a strengthening exercise with ropes at The Axis Project.
The Axis Project: Designing for Wellness
How two advocates founded a gym and wellness center for people with physical disabilities.
Watch Gianfranco Zaccai (Continuum), Jon Marshall (MAP Project office), Scott Summit (3D Systems), and moderator Aimi Hamraie (Vanderbilt University) have a conversation about the origins and future of universal design and accessibility.
Universal Design: Myth or Reality?
From Cooper Hewitt's archives, a video of Gianfranco Zaccai (Continuum), Jon Marshall (MAP Project office), Scott Summit (3D Systems), and moderator Aimi Hamraie (Vanderbilt University) discussing the origins and future of universal design and accessibility.