Object Project

National Museum of American History

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Roto planned, designed and built this unique interactive and collection-based exhibit as a centerpiece of NMAH’s major West Wing first floor renovation. The project showcases “everyday objects that changed everything” in American society, including innovations in the kitchen, around the house, in ready to wear apparel, and the bicycle.


  • 80+ objects from a variety of Smithsonian collections
  • Innovative interactive touches everywhere
  • Inside-out design concept to amplify visual appeal
  • Engaging subject matter for maximum public relevancy
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The dominant feature of Object Project was necessitated by its location – not an exhibit gallery, but a large central gathering space surrounded by visitor circulation rather than defining walls. In response, Roto inverted the usual exhibit spatial formula, gathering all casework and interpretive elements into a singular colossal structure, with visitors exploring around its perimeter.

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 Another innovation in the design, a portent of more to come in future Roto projects, were myriad quiet little green touch sensors placed throughout the giant Object Project structure. A tap turns the sensor briefly amber while some surprising effect occurs – an object spins around to show its reverse side, a vintage sound is played, a tiny spotlight reveals an object’s hidden feature. These delights make Object Project a superbly accessible history exhibit.