May 24, 2022

Cooper Hewitt Design Museum: 18-Month Mass Digitization Effort Complete, More than 200,000 Objects Now Accessible Online

From the Smithsonian:

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum announced today the completion of a comprehensive year-and-a-half project to digitize its collection, with more than 200,000 objects now accessible online via


In collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office, the mass digitization project transformed a physical object (2-D or 3-D) from the shelf to a virtual object in one continuous process. At its peak, the project had four photographic set ups in simultaneous operation, allowing each to handle a certain size, range and type of object, from minute buttons to large posters and furniture. A key to the project’s success was having a completely barcoded collection, which dramatically increased efficiency and allowed all object information to be automatically linked to each image.

The project digitized an average of 600 objects per day, with publication to the website in as little as 48 hours.

Online visitors can search the collection through traditional fields, such as time periods or countries, and also take a deep dive through color, size or type of object. A random button allows for an exciting journey of discovery, inspiring learning and sharing.


The mass digitization of the museum’s permanent collection is made possible by the Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

Direct to Search the Cooper Hewitt Digital Collection

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.