Smithsonian Institution

Engineering the Chaski Relay: A Touchscreen Game at the National Museum of the American Indian

Mar 31, 2017 |

On visiting The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, it is impossible not be taken by the sheer scale of the Inka Road. Qhapaq Ñan, or the Road of the Inka, is a 25,000-mile long road system that fed the rapid expansion of the Inka Read »

The Smithsonian’s IPOP Exhibition Framework: Lessons for a Human-Centered Content Approach

Dec 8, 2016 |

One of the great challenges in designing a product — digital or otherwise — is stepping outside yourself and climbing into the minds of your users. You love the wonderful new app you’ve designed, but will it appeal to others? Fortunately, the field of user experience design (UX) gives us tools to understand our users through surveys, interviews, card Read »

Crowdsourcing at the Law Library of Congress

Oct 7, 2016 |

The Law Library acquired a large collection from William S. Hein & Co., Inc. to make all volumes of several collections (like the Federal Register) available in open access to researchers. Preparing these files by adding metadata for easy searching takes a lot of work, so this summer we asked law students and library students from Read »

Creating Wall-Sized Interaction at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

Sep 30, 2016 |

As any experienced retailer will tell you, the customer experience begins at the store entrance. Note the friendly Walmart greeter, the approachable minimalism of an Apple Store, and the calculated whimsy of Anthropologie. Store designers understand that a customer’s decision to make a purchase is often made within seconds of entering. The same holds true Read »

Webinar Recap: Snaps and Stripes—Sharing Public Service Stories with Snapchat

Sep 27, 2016 |

What does Snapchat, the disappearing message-and-video platform most used by teenagers, have to do with government outreach and communications programs? Well, Snapchat has quickly become an incredibly effective digital storytelling medium, and content creators across multiple government agencies have adopted it as an important part of their programs. A recent New York Times article described Read »

Gettin’ Giphy With It: NARA Shares Online Library of Animated Gifs

Sep 23, 2016 | , ,

Hi there, DigitalGov! Have you looked in vain for quality animated GIFs from a reputable source? Have your searches left you annoyed and frustrated because you can’t find a GIF with properly attributed and sourced content? Wondering what you can do and where to look? Come on over to the new Giphy channel from the Read »

Smithsonian Learning Lab: Designing for the Classroom

Aug 29, 2016 |

The Smithsonian’s mission statement is wonderfully simple: “The increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The “increasing” is arguably the straightforward part – the Smithsonian has amassed a collection of over 138 million objects and specimens, and the Institution’s curators and scientists obsessively add to the world’s knowledge base, publishing papers, creating exhibitions, and sharing their expertise. Read »

The Data Briefing: Air and Space Museum Launches New Mobile App into the Frontier of STEM Education

Dec 23, 2015 |

The Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum just released a new educational mobile app, Mobile Missions. From the website: “Find out if you are cut out for a career in aerospace with our free mobile app, Mobile Missions. Take our quiz to discover the best aerospace career for you. Explore objects from our collection related to Read »

Skin & Bones Come Alive with Smithsonian App

Oct 29, 2015 |

The night air is cool and crisp, the autumn leaves are falling, your costume is ready, jack-o-lanterns carved, lights dimmed, candy in the basket—what else do you need to make “All Hallows’ Eve trick or treat” complete? Some eerie music, a spine Read »

Explore Space with Smithsonian’s Chandra X-Ray App

Jul 23, 2015 |

We continue our celebration of American history and legacy this July 2015 with the New Horizons spacecraft’s dramatic flight past the icy dwarf planet Pluto and its moons—momentous in space exploration. Just think about it—New Horizons, a NASA space probe traveled over 3 billion miles to Read »

2015 Customer Service Trends: a Mid-Year Update

Jul 8, 2015 |

Earlier this year, we published 15 Government Customer Service Trends for 2015. We’re halfway through the year now—how are these trends holding up? 1. Centralized Customer Offices A few agencies have created centralized customer offices, while others question the need for a single organization that focuses on the customer. As the public’s overall satisfaction with Read »

Celebrating American History with Federal Apps

Jul 2, 2015 | ,

Summer is here, which means it is time for the biggest holiday of the summer—Fourth of July! Independence Day is a happy time of year: BBQs, picnics, pools, sunshine and fireworks. Of course, the foundation of our celebration is American history, and there are plenty of excellent federal apps focused on this area. The American Read »

Hear My Tweet: National Museum of American History’s #HearHistory Tweetup

Feb 23, 2015 |

DC was the Silicon Valley of the 1880’s. And Alexander Graham Bell? He was more than just a telephone man. His Volta Laboratory was the premier 19th century innovation center. The work of Bell and his contemporaries is the Read »

Announcing the Winners of the First-Ever White House 3D Printed Ornament Challenge

Dec 23, 2014 | ,

This year, innovative technologies like 3D printing are playing a role in creating a unique and interactive holiday experience at the White House. The halls of the White House are decked out with festive holiday décor and the White House Christmas tree stands tall in the Blue Room. In October, the White House announced the Read »

2nd U.S. Public Participation Playbook Draft Responds to Public Contributions

Dec 8, 2014 |

The new second draft of the U.S. Public Participation Playbook incorporates changes that were proposed from nearly 100 suggestions submitted after the first week of public comment, with more improvements to come. We still need your contributions Read »

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