We all use everyday tools. At work or at home. To measure, communicate, watch etc. The tools are extensions of ourselves, designed to enable us to overcome the limitations of our bodies.
They are not always complex tools involving high technology. Some are actually simple things we use every day. They save us time and make life easier, while others help to achieve remarkable feats. Some inventions change forever the way we do things, and many others have remained unchanged since the beginning of time.
The ax, for example, has persisted for more than 1.5 million years. Digital equivalent of today, the iPhone, with its many functions, continues to expand its capabilities without its physical appearance being profoundly modified.
This exhibition offers 175 tools from the Cooper Hewitt and nine other collections.
Jarvik-7 Artificial Heart, 1985
Designed by Robert Jarvik (American, b. 1946); Manufactured by Symbion, Inc. (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC, Cat. 1987.0474.01 ; Photo by Hugh Talman © Smithsonian Institution
Handaxe #5 and Blade #9 from the BC–AD Contemporary Flint Tool Design series, 2011
Designed by Ami Drach (Israeli, 1963–2012) and Dov Ganchrow (Israeli, b. USA, 1970); Courtesy of Studio Amidov; Photo by Moti Fishbain © 2011
Time Ball (Mnemonic Device), before 1920; Klikitat people (Nicola Valley, Canada)
National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 100297.000 ; Photo by Roger Whiteside © Smithsonian Institution
Pocket Knife/Multitool, Swiss Champ SOS, ca. 1985; Designed and manufactured by Victorinox (Switzerland)
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, Gift of Victorinox, 2013-56-1-a/x ; Photo by Ellen McDermott © Smithsonian Institution
Edison Lamp, 1880; Designed by Thomas Alva Edison (American, 1847–1931)
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC, Cat. 310579.01; Photo by Richard Strauss © Smithsonian Institution
Exhibition 'Tools: Extending Our Reach’
From December 12 2014 to May 25 2015