Illuminating Her Story: 7 SEGD Member Firms’ Designs Celebrate Women’s Impact

“Designing Motherhood” Exhibit by Studio Matthews

In celebration of Women’s History Month, SEGD highlights our member firms that have crafted compelling exhibitions and designs that cast a spotlight on women’s significant contributions to history, culture, and society. From Amelia Earhart’s pioneering spirit in aviation to the influential textile designs of Dorothy Liebes, these showcases traverse a wide spectrum of disciplines, emphasizing the integral roles women have played across various sectors. These exhibitions not only honor individual achievements but also underline the collective narrative of women’s relentless pursuit of equality, innovation, and change. By integrating cutting-edge design with immersive storytelling, these designs offer visitors a unique opportunity to engage with the legacies of women who have shaped our world, reinforcing the importance of recognizing and celebrating women’s achievements throughout history.

“Above the Clouds” Exhibit by Dimensional Innovations

Above the Clouds: Soaring to New Heights
Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum (AEHM) – Atchison, KS
Dimensional Innovations

The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum provides an engaging journey into Amelia Earhart’s pioneering impact on aviation and the early flight era, merging Art Deco aesthetics with modern technology in a STEM-focused educational experience. Aimed at inspiring students from underserved rural areas, the museum introduces a lifelike digital Amelia, developed through extensive AI research, to immerse visitors in interactive explorations of Earhart’s life and careers. 

From augmented reality (AR) job simulations to hands-on aviation displays like a cockpit replica and VR flying challenges, the exhibits bridge historical achievements and contemporary aviation breakthroughs. Features include “Amelia’s Guiding Lights” for celestial navigation lessons and a VR flight simulator, offering a comprehensive look at flight mechanics and Earhart’s adventurous legacy. Recognized by USA TODAY’S 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards as one of the Best New Museums in 2024, the museum transforms educational insights into an inspiring exploration of possibilities.

“A Dark, A Light, A Bright” Exhibit by Isomentric Studio

A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum – New York, NY
Isometric Studio

“Dorothy Liebes: Defining Modernism,” marks the first comprehensive showcase in five decades at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, dedicated to the influential textile designer Dorothy Liebes. Occupying the museum’s entire 6000 sq. ft. second floor, the exhibition celebrates Liebes’ profound influence on 20th-century American modernism with over 175 textiles, furniture, documents, and photographs. The design, inspired by loom architecture, features ash wood and tensioned green cord, creating a cohesive journey through the galleries. The vibrant visual language mirrors Liebes’ dynamic use of color and pattern, paying homage to her collaborations with architectural and design legends while highlighting her role in enlivening modern spaces with her textiles. This exhibition reestablishes Liebes’ legacy, combining original objects with photographs to underscore the vibrant intensity of her work, often lost in historical documentation. Innovative design solutions, respectful of the Cooper Hewitt’s historic architecture, and sustainable practices underscore the exhibition’s commitment to accessibility and environmental consciousness, echoing Liebes’ philosophy that high design should be universally accessible.

Designing Motherhood
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center – Seattle, WA
Studio Matthews

“Designing Motherhood” is an exhibition that explores the journey of pregnancy and childbirth through over 200 diverse objects from IUDs to maternity fashion, showcasing global innovations in maternal and newborn health. Curated jointly by the Gates Discovery Center and Designing Motherhood, the exhibition organizes this wide-ranging collection chronologically along a ‘umbilical table,’ guiding visitors through each stage of pregnancy with clarity. The design contrasts small artifacts against white backdrops and dark steel, with vibrant peach-orange accents to highlight quotes and elevate diverse voices. Incorporating the Discovery Center’s gridded architecture, a modular system aligns the exhibit’s radial table curves with the floor tiles, creating a cohesive space. Beyond presenting childbirth-related designs, the exhibit engages visitors actively, offering experiences like wearing a cloth wrap baby carrier to foster a deeper understanding of parental roles and the significant socio-political implications of maternity design. 

Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House and Museum by Isometric Studio

Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House and Museum
Dallas, TX
Isometric Studio 

This museum celebrates the life and activism of Juanita Craft, a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement, who established 182 NAACP chapters and played a key role in the fight for equality in Dallas and nationally. After a devastating flood in 2018, preservationists, architects, and city officials collaborated to revamp the museum, transforming Craft’s home into a world-class exhibit. Now a candidate for Texas’ Civil Rights Trail, the museum spans eight decades of history, showcasing Craft’s enduring influence on civil rights activism. It features a unique design that mirrors the vibrancy of Craft’s own scrapbooks, employing bold colors, silhouette cutouts, and dynamic typography, alongside a custom typeface, “Craft,” inspired by protest signs she and her “Craft Kids” created. African Sapele wood casework and mid-century inspired metalwork display historic artifacts, offering a comprehensive view of America’s civil rights journey, from enslavement to community liberation, through Craft’s eyes.

National Women’s History Museum – Brand Identity and Website
The Smithsonian Institution – Online and Washington DC
Paula Scher, FSEGD, Pentagram

The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), renowned for highlighting the pivotal roles women have played in shaping the United States, has embraced a new visual identity designed by Paula Scher and her team at Pentagram. This identity, symbolized by a dynamic, folded “W,” represents the museum’s evolution from a virtual space toward establishing a physical presence, particularly as it introduces its inaugural physical exhibitions and programs in Washington, DC. The design, unveiled in conjunction with the museum’s 25th anniversary, signifies NWHM’s commitment to being a modern history institution that connects past achievements with future inspirations. The versatile “W” logo, adaptable as an “M” for “Museum” or used to frame images and narratives about women’s history, underpins a brand architecture that integrates the museum’s varied initiatives under a cohesive visual framework. Accompanied by a vibrant color palette and a redesigned website and quarterly magazine, the new identity marks a significant milestone in NWHM’s journey towards establishing a permanent museum dedicated to women’s history on or near the National Mall.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts by Art Processors

The National Museum of Women in the Arts
Washington DC
Art Processors

As the world’s first major museum dedicated to championing women artists, this singular institution is as much a sanctuary for advocacy, community, education, and social change as it is for art. While undergoing an extensive renovation designed by Sandra Vicchio & Associates to bring their 1908 Classical-Revival-style building into the present, NMWA engaged Art Processors to help bring visitors closer to the contemporary and historical artists within the museum’s remarkable collection.

In collaboration with NMWA and our partners, Art Processors created experiences that inspire thoughtful exchanges and reflections about art and ideas. The Art Processors team reimagined the first floor’s Long Gallery to combine immersive linear media, static imagery, and digital touchpoints that bring visitors inside artists’ worlds, offering a fresh perspective on the women behind the work. On the third floor, anchored within the museum’s collection galleries, an interactive table invites exploration, revealing unexpected links between artists across time, medium, and geography.

“We Who Believe in Freedom” Exhibit by Tessellate Studio and Blue Telescope

We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC
National Women’s History Museum – Washington DC
Tessellate Studio and Blue Telescope

The National Women’s History Museum’s inaugural physical exhibit at the D.C. Public Library’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, “We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC,” showcases the pivotal role of Black feminists in Washington, D.C., from 1890 to the present. The exhibition, rich in personal narratives, large-scale imagery, and interactive elements, invites visitors to explore the significant historical milestones achieved by these women and the impact of their leadership on broader social movements.

Designed to offer an immersive experience, the exhibition combines vivid, illustrative styling with contemporary and historical imagery, creating an environment that fosters engagement and reflection. The exhibition space filled with bright colors, interior nooks for contemplation, and interactive media amplify the voices and achievements of Black feminist leaders. By utilizing non-permanent structures that respect the architectural integrity of the venue, the exhibit navigates through D.C.’s history as a center for Black feminist activism, offering a dynamic exploration of the city’s rich legacy of civil rights, reproductive justice, and feminist theory.

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