Smithsonian – Yesterday, Today

Identity, Physical

Overview

Outcomes

Details

Summary

The Smithsonian Institute and USA Today reached out to us to conceptualize and design a twelve-page activity insert that would run in USA Today. The concept and design uses objects from Smithsonian’s collections to create fun learning opportunities for families to come together and bridge generational gaps between the past and present.

Background

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.

Organization Type

Museum & Research Complex

Assignment

Concept, design, and curate a fun and educational 12-page activity book that would run in USA Today that showcases artifacts from the Smithsonian archives and helps bridge generational gaps between the past and present.

Client

Smithsonian Institute

Years

2020

Location

Washington, DC, USA

Collaborators

USA Today

Approach

Yesterday, Today celebrates the interconnectedness of some our nation’s cultural milestones. Through the lens of the Smithsonian archives, Yesterday Today bridge generational gaps between our past and present, and how key moments, individuals, and innovations, led us to the world we live in today.

Over the course of twelve pages, we explore three distinct time capsules illuminating the invisible threads that run through history. The first, Space Race to Smartphone, connects the dots from the beginnings of space exploration to the invention of the smartphone. Car manufacturing has always been an essential part of the American identity. In Oil Shock to Electric Car we reveal how the oil shortages of the 1970’s laid the path for the green advances we’re seeing in transportation today. In the words of Andy Warhol, “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15-minutes.” Pop Art to Social Media traces the rise of social media from the dawn of pop art and reality tv.

Activities and mind games are incorporated throughout, including emoji codes, future predictions, a create your own pixel icon graph, and a full spread of Solitaire in the iconic Windows interface style released in 1990.

Research

Artifacts from nineteen Smithsonian museums, Cultural milestones from the last century, 80’s operating system interfaces

Reach

Yesterday, Today appeared in 1.7 million newspapers.

USA Today estimates that each newspaper is read by 2.5 people (including families, roommates, public places).

Components

Concept, Curation, Print Design

Published in the USA Today and read by over 4 million people nationwide, ‘Yesterday, Today’ is a fun and educational activity guide that bridges generational gaps by celebrating unexpected connections between the past and present found within the Smithsonian’s collections.
I

Cover of  Yesterday, Today 12-page insert

II

Detail of  table of contents spread – letter from the Lonnie G. Bunch III of the Smithsonian

III

Table of contents and coloring activity

IV

Detail of coloring activity

V

Included objects from the Smithsonian’s collections

VI

Interior Spread – Space Race to Smartphone time capsule with emoji decoder and crossword puzzle

VII

Detail of Space Race to Smartphone spread

VIII

Detail of Icon-O-Graph icon maker activity

IX

Interior Spread – Oil Shock to Smart Car time capsule with puzzle and Icon-O-Graph icon maker activity and crossword puzzle.

X

Interior Spread – Pop Art to Social Media time capsule with connect-the-dots and word find activities

XI

Detail of Pop Art to Social Media spread

XII

Interior Spread – Tomorrow page with Predictive Text and Timeless Tunes activities

XIII

Included objects from the Smithsonian’s collections

XIV

Back Cover – life size Solitaire “board” in the iconic Windows 3.0 interface style released in 1990 with original artwork by Susan Kare (Shown here with accompanying Susan Kare playing cards that are available through Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s shop)

( ( SHAKEN ) )