Ubiquitous. Empowering. Transformative.
It’s impossible to capture with a single word the dramatic influence cellphones have on human life.
These devices penetrate almost every aspect of daily life with the power of convenience and constant connectivity, reshaping entire industries, and revolutionizing how we engage with each other. They have become our intimate companions as we document and express our lives.
But, behind their screens, cellphones hold a deeper story about the ways we are connected to the earth, and to each other, through the technology we create.
EXPLORING THE CELLPHONE ECOSYSTEM
Cellphone: Unseen Connections will be a suite of educational experiences, including a first-of-its-kind museum exhibition, to reveal the unseen yet powerful connections produced by cellphones.
From the minerals, infrastructure, and human ingenuity that power our cellphones, to the immense cultural impacts driven by social media, data collection, constant connectivity, and much more, Cellphone will explore the gamut of timely topics that shed light on how humans are shaping and understanding our role with each other and our environment in the 21st century.
This unique project provides an opportunity to inspire and educate the public while catalyzing conversation on the undeniable and immediate relevance of our cellphones.
The more we understand this ecosystem, the more connected we become to the global community and the natural resources that make the fastest communication tool in our history possible.
From raw materials and human labor, what goes into making our cellphones?
Investigate the natural resources used to make cellphones, meet the workers along the supply chain and around the world that are involved cellular technology, and learn about the innovative solutions that will lessen the burden on our planet and our communities.
What technology and infrastructure does it take to make our cellphones work and keep working?
Follow the journey of a call, text, or social media post from your cellphone through the “invisible” infrastructure of telecommunications. Explore the science necessary to make cellphones function and witness “green” innovation efforts along the way.
How do diverse cultures use their cellphones around the world?
Cellphones are much more than mere communication devices. They enable so much functionality and creativity in our daily lives, effortlessly collapsing technology from our past for us to create new media and cultural practices. From mobile money to emoji development to indigenous language revitalization, cellphones enable a richer cultural diversity.
How are we adapting to cellphones and how are cellphones adapting to us?
Explore the potential of cellphones to help us address today’s societal challenges, disrupt oppressive systems, and transform how we relate to each other and the world around us.
What is our consumer responsibility when we are finished using our cellphones?
Consider what to do when your phone no longer works, and learn about making responsible choices to repair, recycle, or refurbish.
SUITE OF ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Educational and outreach programming will complement the Cellphone: Unseen Connections exhibit content by providing programs that are topical and relevant, and that inspire participants to become more engaged with technology, innovation, and their own consumer choices.
- 5,400 sq. ft. exhibit on the National Mall to engage 5 million annual visitors
- Individualized cellphone chatbot experience inside the exhibit
- Cellphone DIY exhibit with resource toolkit for local communities
- STEM-focused learning programs available online and onsite
- Teen inclusive project development and outreach