Museum Spotlight: Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

Interview with Sarah Freeman and Jessica Nunez

September 25, 2013


In celebration of the the Imagination Foundation’s 2013 Caine’s Arcade Global Cardboard Challenge, littleBits spent some time getting to know Sarah Freeman and Jessica Nunez of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. These fantastic educators will be leading this weekend’s Target Design Kids Workshop: littleBits Mania!  Find out more about the Caine’s Arcade inspired event taking place at the Cooper Hewitt Design Center on Saturday, September 28 from 11 am- 3pm. Good news – a few tickets are still available!

Tell us about your current position: Where do you teach? What ages and subject/programs do you teach?

My name is Sarah Freeman, Public Education Manager at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. I develop and manage design related educational programming for adults and families. I work with my colleague, Jessica Nunez, the Family & Youth Programs Assistant. Jessica helps facilitate workshops for families with children ages 2 – 5 and their caregivers, and oversees Saturday workshops for families with children ages 5 – 12. The main focus of our Family Programs is creating programs that introduce families to design concepts and raising awareness of how design is present in our daily lives.

How does your program embrace new technology and design?

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum works with a wide audience, from families with small children, New York City school children and teens, to teachers and other adults. Our programs use design as a catalyst for discussion and hands-on workshops, and whenever possible, participants work with or hear from a professional designer. We work with emerging designers in a range of programs, like our Teen Design Fair, coming up here in New York on October 15th. This event is part of National Design Week and will introduce NYC teens to designers from all different fields, giving teens the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about design. A lot of our programs integrate technology in some way, and we are currently working on digital badging as a way to provide micro-credentials to participants in our programs, enhancing their experience and encouraging further engagement.

How did you discover littleBits? What drew you to our product/company?

Jessica discovered littleBits through a recommendation from Limor Fried, from Adafruit Industries. We are always looking for new ways to engage families with design.

How are you incorporating littleBits into your educational programs?

We will be using littleBits during our next Target Design Kids Workshop. Families will work together to design a cardboard creation using Bits modules and everyday materials.

If you could challenge your workshop participants to do anything with any amount of littleBits, what would you have them create?

It would be fun to have a big event to design a working community using the Bits and other materials.  Participants would work on different sections of the community and then bring the pieces together at the end of the workshop.

What advice can you offer educators, especially those working in museums, who are new to littleBits?

Take time to experiment!


Thanks Sarah and Jessica! Stay tuned for our workshop recap next week. If you are interested in hosting or attending a Global Cardboard Challenge in your hometown, check out the Imagination Foundation for more information.

littleBits is seeding collaborative and creative pilots in a variety of museum workshop programs. We welcome opportunities to work with museum educators; please contact us [email protected]