Carnegie Museum Studio Exhibition

Extraordinary Ordinary Things exhibition


Learning About the Exhibit

My journey starts with listening and conversing with one of the art curators, Rachel Delphia, for the Extraordinary Ordinary Things exhibit. She came and told us her story as well as her thoughts and values going into creating this exhibit. Some key takeaways I’ve had from this conversation was that:

  • Some key purposes for the exhibition: celebrate women and people of color designers, understand the built environment and people’s stories
  • The layout of the exhibit and the reasoning behind the placement
  • What does an in-museum exhibition not offer: touching and playing with the artifacts

Gaining My Own Understanding of the Exhibition

I walked through the exhibit and looked through all the objects, taking notes on objects that made an impression on me and why it did.

[my favorite object and comments on it]

What was also super interesting to me was how others reacted to the exhibition. As a designer, I think I’m able to pay more attention to the details and resonate with the purpose of this exhibition than someone who may not have this background and interest. Therefore, I asked many strangers within this exhibit what was their favorite object and why to understand more of the aspects that others pay attention to in an artifact.

Week 1 reflection
Interviews and observations on people in the museum
My observations of a memorable artifact

I came to a couple of conclusions where,

  1. People relate to artifacts that evoke personal connection → Artifacts that are abstract but have certain boundaries that led you to interpret a certain situation
  2. People are attracted to easily digestible content (e.g. videos), they won’t read into the background unless there is something strongly attracting them to it.


What Are The Moments That Spark Value?

  1. Being personally involved in a process and seeing your impacts in a result makes you more attached and attracted to that result → co-creation of value between designer and user.
  2. It’s the small, straightforward, and beautiful moments that sometimes people remember the most — a spark of a flame, the ash from a fire, the intertwining of wire…
  3. People enjoy placing their own meaning and values into a story.

Combining Takeaways

  • How to increase engagement to our exhibit’s purpose: increase reflection on everyday design/product design, materiality in design, history of design and designers.
  • How to encourage learning about product design or the history of an artifact.
  • How to use tactile interaction and immersive media to create interest
  • How to create interest for users that don’t usually go to art museusm
Initial responses

After putting down my initial responses, I also looked at other artists that inspires me and could aid in these ideas:

Workshop and week 2 reflection

Over the second week, I talked with a couple of others about these ideas and this also helped me generate more ideas and decide on a few topics/purposes to focus on. I hope to further develop these ideas and I’m excited to create something amazing!

Industrial/Experience Designer, Human Computer Interactions and Physical Computing at Carnegie Mellon University