Process Lab


In this dynamic  interactive space, you have an opportunity to brainstorm design solutions through both hands-on and digital activities.

Cooper Hewitt has drawn on its extensive experience planning and leading education programs for people of all ages to create an immersive learning space that brings the design process to life.

Embracing our motto of “Play Designer,” the Process Lab is a dynamic new way to enjoy the museum and experience the creative process of design firsthand. Here you can participate in design thinking as though you were a designer, by engaging in a series of digital and physical activities based in four categories: getting ideas, prototyping with materials, critiquing, and evaluating everyday design solutions.


The Process Lab is made possible by major support from Alice Gottesman.

Generous support is provided by The Hearst Foundations.

Additional funding is provided by May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., Beth Comstock, and Nike, Inc.

Generous in-kind support is provided by

3D Systems logo for light bkgrd (2)

Experiment with Process

Even if you are unfamiliar with the museum’s offerings, the Process Lab will serve as a primer, helping you better relate to the items on view after personally experimenting with the process of design thinking. Process Lab activities include:

Prototyping with Light

The centerpiece of the room is a hands-on making station designed by Lindsey Adelman Studio. Here you can interact with custom-built lighting stations by clipping a rich selection of pre-cut materials (transparent gels, reflective surfaces, and translucent papers) to a beautifully crafted armature to adjust the effects of light.

Design it Better

Engaging with an 84″ multi-touch media table, you can propose new design features for everyday products, from a drinking fountain to a shopping cart, finding ways to make these objects more valuable to specific users.

Getting Ideas

In the sketching activity “Pocket Brainstorm,” invent new products by merging features of small objects you are carrying with you, such as an eyeglass case and a money clip or a key and a ballpoint pen. You can also share your work on a magnetic share wall and sketch additional ideas for “Wearable Technology” on a large-scale inspiration wall.

The experience will emphasize how design is a way of thinking, planning, and problem solving, and provide a foundation for the rest of the design concepts on view throughout the museum.