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ContemPlace has developed a number of “thinking tools” as part of its  programming  since its founding. You may find a sample of these  on this page.


C E N S U S   P R O J E C T

ContemPlace began work aligned with the Census Bureau in 2011, stemming from conversations held with then director Robert Groves and Mark Doms from the Department of Commerce, and the general need for the public to better understand the purposes and uses of the census as a measure of American and of its changes.

In April 2015, ContemPlace hosted an event at the annual Alliance of American Museums conference in Atlanta. The event was titled Beyond Census and focused on the increasing role that data plays in our everyday lives.

In 2019 and 2020, ContemPlace developed a series of informational panels for distribution to libraries related to the 2020 Census. The panels explained the purpose of the Census in a liberal democracy and the importance of the data it produces to academics, politicians, businesses, and other groups. The project also emphasized the gaps that exist through undercounting in the Census.

The panels can be downloaded here.

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S E V E N T H   S E N S E

The Census-centric focus grew into a broader initiative,  around the possibility of using Census data as a “gateway topic” to introduce fundamental ideas about data-based thinking and decision-making to the general public.  In 2018, ContemPlace worked alongside the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative (SMEC) on an experiential learning environment  titled “Seventh Sense.” Conceptual art for the exhibit can be seen below. The purpose of the exhibit was to promote the ability to collate, analyze, and manipulate data as a a kind of seventh human sense for perceiving aspects of the world, and connections therein, previously unseen.


The panels can be downloaded here.

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U S A - 2 5 0

The United States will have existed for 250 years in 2026. ContemPlace worked through the founding USA250 initiative, which celebrates the founding of longest-standing democracy in the world and encourages young Americans to envision ways that democratic can be strengthened. In 2018, at the American Association for State and Local History, ContemPlace hosted a session called “A More Perfect Union” which focused on ideas and lessons-learned over the past two and a half centuries, that should inform our thinking about ourselves and the body politic.


To see some of the idea-framing posters, please see below. The posters can be downloaded here.


T U R N K E Y    E D U C A T I O N   R E S E A R C H

ContemPlace works closely alongside its partner, TurnKey Education, in designing experiential learning spaces that both meet local curriculum requirements and establish the foundations for critical thinking. By conducting focus group research with students and educators, we have identified effective pedagogical approaches to the spaces that we design. Here, you may find a few of the reports published by TurnKey that have informed our design work.


The reports can be downloaded here.

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