Watercolor Maptiles by Stamen are now part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection

May 19, 2021


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In 2012, Stamen Design released watercolor map tiles based on OpenStreetMap data. It was amazing to see, especially for a time when most online maps looked about the same. Now these watercolor map tiles are part of Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian design museum:

“Interactive digital works by their very nature subvert traditional museum collecting practices,” said Andrea Lipps, associate curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt. “Watercolor Maptiles is itself a dynamic, living web-based map that is placeless; it exists on a browser and its assets are distributed across servers. By creating a duplicate version of the Watercolor Maptiles site and hosting it on Smithsonian Institution servers and domain, Cooper Hewitt has established a new acquisition model for the museum sector.”