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Cooper Hewitt Collections Data

The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum has published the metadata about its collection of over 120,000 design-related objects as flat data on GitHub

The collection is available to browse on the Cooper Hewitt site and the museum website is being rebuilt around the new collection data.

The data is not complete - it's about 60-70% of the whole collection at December 2013 - and consists mainly of 'tombstone' data (accession numbers, dates, basic factual information) with only the bare minimum about most of the objects.

Used in Anger

The Cooper-Hewitt have a number of examples of use of the collection data and API on their Labs blog

Object Phone sends back information about an object if you text its UID to a shortcode.

Technical Info

The Cooper Hewitt has a page for Developers, and also publish a 'RESTish' API at - they suggest that Developers register for an API key.

The museum requests that you credit them where possible, and contribute any improvements back to the museum.

They suggest using machine tags to link images on Flickr or 3D objects in Thingiverse back to the collection: eg ch:object=18521077

There's some work to create concordances - initially around people on the collections site, with data being published to GitHub as csvs. (Beware the deprecated Concordances repo!)

They're implementing oEmbed for links and photos of collection objects.

oEmbed is a format for allowing an embedded representation of a URL on third party sites. The simple API allows a website to display embedded content (such as photos or videos) when a user posts a link to that resource, without having to parse the resource directly.

And they are not joking when they say their URL Shortener is awesome.


Metadata under Creative Commons Pulic Domain dedication, which offers no restrictions as to re-use of the data. Image rights are managed by Art Resource and are not covered by the release.

Contact information

See contact page

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