The Museum Design Lab Research Project follows the typical stages of research: identify a problem, study context and precedents, propose a hypothesis, develop models for exploration, synthesize results and draw conclusions. This year a group of 18 students, majoring in architecture, interior design, lighting design and history of design are working in interdisciplinary teams in collaboration with six NYC-based museums. These include The American Museum of Natural History, The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, The New York Hall of Science, The Museum of the American Indian, The Museum of Modern Art, The Tenement Museum. Each team will identify the museum’s unique mission, funding, visitorship, assets, organization, architecture and document different techniques for engaging the audience through exhibitions, media and programming. Based on contextual research conducted in the seminar each team will also identify three major challenges for the museum in the next 50 years and propose a speculative project to address them. This proposal may take the form of a unique program, application or physical exhibition, or a combination of all three. The proposal may involve a restructuring of existing assets and operational structures, new design strategies, architecture, exhibitions and programs, or a complete rethinking of the museum and a new language to describe it. Student teams will then compare proposals and look for trends and synergies and synthesize a vision of these ‘Museum Futures’.
Various stages of this project will be posted in the Work section.