Smithsonian – Present History
The Smithsonian Institute and USA Today reached out to us to conceptualize and design a follow-up to “Yesterday, Today.” The new twelve-page activity insert would run in USA Today to show the breadth of the Smithsonian Institute’s work and research on its 175 year anniversary.
The Smithsonian Institute is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, 9 research centers, and affiliates around the world. The Institute has been termed “the nation’s attic” for its eclectic holdings of 154 million items.
Museum & Research Complex
Concept, design, and curate a fun and educational 12-page activity book that would run in USA Today that exemplifies the full value, long-legacy, and reach of the Smithsonian Institute – from who they are, what they collect, to what they do.
Washington, DC, USA
Present History seeks to show how moments in history have pushed or altered the trajectory of the Smithsonian, through the opening of new museums, additions to the collection, research, and initiatives, and in turn, how these moments in history impacted the way we live in America. This year marks the 175-year anniversary of the Smithsonian, with origins before the Civil War. To date, the Smithsonian has 19 museums, 9 research centers, 154 million artifacts, and affiliates around the world.
The insert uses two timelines to tell the Smithsonian’s story. The first spotlights People, Places, Objects, and Events that were emblematic of the cultural, societal, economic, and political shifts of the time, illustrated through images or artifacts from the Smithsonian’s collections. The second timeline, running across the bottom of each page, celebrates the significant milestones of the Smithsonian over its 175 year history. Interspersed throughout the insert are games and activities that celebrate unexpected stories, roles, or artifacts from the Smithsonian. The centerfold has a 2-player game inspired by Trivial Pursuit, where players complete challenges as they make their way to different Smithsonian destinations. The insert’s back cover is a play on Chutes & Ladders, where players travel to significant inventions from the 19th century, showing how seemingly failed inventions led to future advancements.
Milestones and artifacts from nineteen Smithsonian museums, Popular games from 1846 til today
Present History was distributed to nearly 2 million USA Today subscribers nationwide.
USA Today estimates that each newspaper is read by 2.5 people (including families, roommates, public places).
Concept, Curation, Print Design
Principal: Michael Ellsworth
Principal: Corey Gutch
Creative Direction: Gabriel Stromberg
Research: Molly Derse
Design: Òscar Viñas
Account Management: Raya Leary
History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.James Baldwin