First week at Cooper Hewitt Design Museum Smithsonian Fellowship, New York City

Olivia Vane, March 2017


This was an exciting week as it marks the beginning of a Smithsonian Fellowship at Cooper Hewitt, the flagship US museum for historical and contemporary design. Cooper Hewitt has digitised its entire collection, more than 200,000 design objects, and I will be spending the next 5 months at the museum working on data visualisation projects with the collection data in collaboration with Cooper Hewitt Labs.


I’m delighted to be embedded at Cooper Hewitt in Digital and Emerging Media, the team who developed this technical infrastructure (the public collection dataset, collections website and API) and also the host of technological innovations in the galleries which you can read about here.


A selection of Cooper Hewitt objects tagged 'geometric'

A selection of Cooper Hewitt objects tagged ‘geometric’


This is a strongly image-based dataset, in contrast with the digitised texts I’ve been working with previously. And I expect this will throw up challenges and opportunities for this research. I’m interested to explore tracing themes, patterns and relationships across the collection through time.


Visit Olivia’s blog to see an interactive graphic she made using pattern designs from the Cooper Hewitt collection: