For over two years, much to many people’s surprise, Cooper Union Museum’s and Cooper-Hewitt’s historical publications have been publicly accessible via the Internet Archive. Many of these publications are rare and in some cases, the only known existing copy is held in our National Design Library who worked hard to have them digitized. Sadly, these long digitized Museum publications have languished without much visibility.
In fact, in The New York Times’ 11/26/12 piece “The Art World, Blurred”, Carol Vogel identifies the “graveyard of out-of-print books” that is rapidly haunting museums. In shout-outs to these savvy go-getters, she cheers for a long list of online museum initiatives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, LACMA, and the Art Institute of Chicago, to name a few. Can anyone say Cooper-Hewitt?
Thankfully, all that is changing!
With our Historical Publications section, this material is now easily accessible and can be explored right on the page without leaving the site. In addition, integrating these publications on our site provides a growing connection with the Museum collection and exhibition archive, while also establishing an invaluable foundation as the Museum moves into new publishing territory. Expect to see rich connections to and from our evolving Online Collections soon
Publishing is experiencing a renaissance at Cooper-Hewitt, led by the newly-formed Cross-Platform Publishing team now part of Digital and Emerging Media. We are particularly excited about our new imprint, DesignFile, which was created to publish ebooks on design research and writing. Design Cult, a collection of essays by design critic and National Design Award winner, Steven Heller, will be one of three DesignFile releases set to launch in January 2013. Look for it in epub , iBooks, and Kindle. Spoiler alert: there will be an upcoming post offering some cool insights from our in-house graphic designer, Katie, about the process of designing covers for ebooks vs. print.
We have more projects underway—including a rethinking of publishing workflows much in the vein of Auckland Museum’s ‘COPE’ strategy (create once publish everywhere).
In the meantime, check out one of our favorite historical pubs, the 1941 A Brief Introduction to the Museum’s Facilities, which is a fascinating glimpse into both mid-20th-century design thinking and the museum experience.
Pam Horn & Sara Rubinow