The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum adds an iPad app to its collection. But how do you exhibit and preserve software? Apparently, the same way you run a panda-breeding program.
Toys, textiles, and Japanese tsuba are all things you might expect to come across when visiting the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. But you might be surprised by one of the museum’s most recent acquisitions — an iPad app.
The Cooper-Hewitt has acquired the iPad app Planetary, the first piece of code to be included in the museum’s collection. Planetary visualizes the contents of a person’s music library as celestial bodies — turning songs, albums, and artists into moons, planets, and suns.
“We have acquired Planetary both as an example of interaction design and interactive data visualization,” said Sebastian Chan, Cooper-Hewitt’s director of digital and emerging media, and Aaron Cope, Cooper-Hewitt’s senior engineer, in a blog post announcing the acquisition earlier this week. “By acquiring its source code — including its changes between versions — we are also able to reveal the underlying design decisions made through its creation and evolution from its first public release in 2011 to the last public version of 2012.”