How can Smithsonian collections better inform design education in Higher Ed? That was the inquiry behind a fellowship at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) whereby design assignments were developed from exhibits, especially the Herbert Bayer: Bauhaus Master at the Cooper Hewitt. Projects used this collection along with other diverse and inclusive narratives, to teach a more comprehensive design history. Exhibit by Ellen Lupton. Photo by Matt Flynn.

Design explorations in branding. The Smithsonian Institution is abbreviated "SI" and these two letters are perfectly central to the word "design" — allowing for design play

This Learning Lab Collection is a way to supplement Bauhaus lessons in discourse. It strives to recognize the profound influence African Art had on modern design as well as Bauhaus pedagogy (which is new research).

Teaching assignment (student designer Sarah Caffrey). This is a font assignment that focuses on the women of the Bauhaus. Here we have an icon based off a Marianne Brandt desk lamp.

Teaching assignment (student designer Pierina Galvez Diaz). This in-class exercise translates a Bayer print, digitally, to understand not only its narrative but also its grid system, in InDesign.

Museum visualizations like this 3D model (left) supplement course materials to help students understand space when a trip to the museum is impossible. This impressive Carnegie Mansion in 3D can be found here.

Photo by Matt Flynn

Kathleen Meaney
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
working with:
Darren Milligan, Senior Digital Strategist
Cody Coltharp, Digital Interactive Designer
Note: The Learning Lab collection was published in an essay on Design Observer called From A to B (Africa to Bauhaus)

More projects:

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