Join Cooper Hewitt for an interactive session on Transforming Museum Experience. Participants will explore topics related to the design of a museum experience, thoughts on how and why it should transform, and share ideas for how we might work to bring about the kind of transformation we seek collectively.

The format of the program is made up almost entirely of small group discussions based on prompts generated by an interdisciplinary working group made up of sixteen museum professionals doing progressive work across visitor-experience facing roles. Convened by the Interaction Lab thanks to the generous support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, this working group will publish a toolkit in early 2021 that will contain thoughts and ideas on designing transformative museum experiences, useful tools and approaches from our own areas of practice, and tactics to help drive this work forward within institutions.

The members of the working group are:

  • Shanita Brackett, Walmart Director for Visitor and Guest Services, National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Isabella Bruno, Exhibition/Experiential Designer, National Museum of American History
  • Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Head of Public Programs, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
  • Alexandra Cunningham-Cameron, Curator of Contemporary Design and Hintz Secretarial Scholar, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Silvia Filippini Fantoni, Deputy Director, Learning and Engagement, Newark Museum of Art
  • Marie Foulston, Freelance Curator and Creative Director
  • Rachel Ginsberg, Interaction Lab Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Hannah Goodwin, Accessibility Manager, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Samatha Heywood, Freelance Consultant, Visitor Experience/Exhibition Design, Curatorial
  • Andrea Jones, Director of Education, Anacostia Community Museum
  • Adam Martin, Chief Digital Officer, National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Katherine Miller, Senior Visitor Experience Associate, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Liz Neely, Curator of Digital Experience, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
  • Carolyn Royston, Chief Experience Officer, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Casey Scott-Songin, Senior Manager Data and Insight, The National Gallery, London
  • Dr. Lauren Vargas, Independent Researcher and Consultant


The program will be run in Zoom and links will be sent out via email to all registered attendees two hours before the program.

To document our ideas, we’ll use a digital whiteboard tool called Miro, which we will introduce at the beginning of the program. If you’d like to get a head start with Miro, we made a sample board. It’s also possible to participate in the program without using Miro, so please don’t let that keep you away.

We’ll use Miro to create a shared online repository that will remain open and accessible after the program and will contribute to the development of a toolkit co-authored by the working group to be published in early 2021.


It is critical to create a space where everyone in our community feels comfortable sharing their ideas and experiences. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent focus on systemic racism, we understand that sometimes conversations like these can veer into difficult territory. For that reason, we will discuss conduct expectations at the beginning of the program.


As described above, this program will be highly-participatory, hosted via Zoom and using Miro for visual documenting. Please reach out with questions or requests for services by emailing or share when registering.

The Interaction Lab is an embedded R&D program driving the reimagining of Cooper Hewitt’s audience experience, across digital, physical, and human interactions. Since its Fall 2019 launch, the Lab has injected new ideas into the museum’s work through internal workshopping and strategy, an extremely successful public program series merging interactive design and museum practice, and a commissioning program that engages the design community as creative collaborators in creating the next wave of the Cooper Hewitt experience.

Empty museum image credits and locations from left: James Rudnick, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Celia Tewey, Metropolitan Museum of Art; National History Museum London; Museo del Prado; Sam Hodgson, San Diego Natural History Museum; Regan Vercruysse, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This workshop is made possible by support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.