who can enter

The Call for Entries is open to any current 2- or 4-year undergraduate or graduate college/university student aged 18+.  There is no entry fee associated with this call for entries. At the time of entry, the student must be at least 18 years old, and must reside in the 50 United States and District of Columbia.

You may not enter if you are a member of the immediate family or household of a:

  • regent, officer, or director of the Smithsonian Institution (“Smithsonian”);
  • Smithsonian employee, fellow, intern, research associate, or volunteer directly involved in the planning of the Call for Student Entries.

You may enter as an individual or as a team of up to 5 students. Only submit a design that is your own original creation, or if entering as a team, the original creation of your team. Each participant is solely responsible for his or her entry or his or her team’s entry and the consequences of making that entry. The Smithsonian reserves the right to disqualify any entry if it determines that it contains design marks, logos, or writing identifying the participant(s), or if the participant(s) sought to communicate with any member of the selection committee. Participants are solely responsible for all costs associated with the preparation of an entry.

By submitting to the Call for Entries you understand that if your project is chosen, you (for an individual submission) or at least one team member (for a team submission) are required to travel to Cooper Hewitt in New York, NY for an event on February 25, 2019. You are responsible for all travel and lodging expenses and arrangements.

Entries received after 11:59 p.m. ET on October 21, 2018 will be considered late entries. Late entries will be disqualified.

Review the open call rules and conditions for complete information on eligibility.

The Selection Process

Cooper Hewitt shall review all eligible entries using the Call for Entries requirements and selection criteria in order to select no more than 15 designs to be exhibited at Cooper Hewitt.

Cooper Hewitt will notify you if your entry is accepted using the email address and telephone number provided at the time of entry. There is no individual project “winner.”

Those not accepted will not be notified. If you do not respond to the selection notification within two business days, another finalist may be chosen. Failure to respond within two business days will result in finalist forfeiting their position.  Finalist will be announced on cooperhewitt.org.



October 21, 2018, 11:59 p.m. (ET)

The entry period is now open! Click here to create an account, work on, and submit your entry. Learn more about how to enter.



Selection Criteria

Entries will be evaluated for overall design excellence according to the following criteria:

  • Innovation: How creative and original is your design?
  • Impact: Large or small, what is the impact of your design?
  • Relevance: Does your design address the identified challenge and demonstrate empathy for the user?
  • Presentation: How clear is the presentation of process, concepts and final solution?


accepted student participation

As a condition of acceptance and display of your entry at the Cooper Hewitt, you agree to:

    • Submit two (2) 24” X 36” PDF files that include written descriptions of the project, phases of idea development, and images of the final design solution by November 4, 2018.
    • Travel to New York City to present your project to an expert panel and participate in a workshop on February 25, 2019. The expert panel will be identified by Cooper Hewitt. Travel and accommodations costs and arrangements will not be provided.
    • Exhibition of your project at Cooper Hewitt.
    • Cooperation with Smithsonian staff for reasonable requests made in connection with the Open Call.

Failure to attend, participate, or cooperate, as determined by the Smithsonian in its sole discretion, may result in disqualification at any time.

Accepted students also must provide an affidavit of eligibility as well as enter a participation agreement regarding publicity and liability releases.