Smithsonian’s New Digital Guide Brings the Future to People’s Fingertips June 22

The Public Can Tour the Year 2050 With “Your Future Guide,” a First-of-Its-Kind Online ExperienceDebuting To Celebrate the Final Month of the Landmark “FUTURES” Exhibition
June 22, 2022
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Graphic illustration with two rows of human faces on either side. In center reads "Your Future Guide. yourfututreguide.com"

What will people’s lives be like in 2050? How do they care for a future they cannot even imagine? A new digital experience from the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building (AIB) will introduce them to the ideas, objects and inventions that could transform their future. 

“Your Future Guide” is a first-of-its-kind digital experience that brings the milestone “FUTURES” exhibition—the Smithsonian’s first exploration of the future—to audiences everywhere. Brought to life through a groundbreaking new mix of machine learning and storytelling, AIB’s official future guide of 2050 will be available beginning June 22 at yourfutureguide.si.edu

Closing July 6, “FUTURES” showcases more than 150 awe-inspiring objects, ideas, prototypes and installations that fuse art, technology, design and history to help visitors imagine many possible futures on the horizon. “Your Future Guide” is designed as a gift to carry FUTURES beyond the walls of AIB and inspire millions more to think more hopefully and flexibly about the world to come.  

Designed in partnership with award-winning advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), “Your Future Guide” helps people imagine the future by giving them a tour of it. The project is based on research that shows that most Americans struggle to think more than 30 years into the future, but it is exactly that type of long-term thinking that enables people to focus on solutions and the future they desire. Empathy and the ability to envision that future, to see oneself in it, are key. 

“We are much more likely to care about a future in which we can see ourselves,” said Rachel Goslins, director of the AIB. “Through the magic of these cutting-edge technologies, we are able to give users the otherworldly experience of time-traveling to a possible future. That experience can lead all of us to being more engaged citizens and better creative problem solvers.” 
 
“Your Future Guide” begins by learning more about people today and the type of future they would like to see through a series of fun, engaging personality questions. Behind the scenes, a selection tool works to curate a personalized set of ideas and objects from “FUTURES” to explore for a tour. Ranging from sustainable foods to cryopreservation to the future of transit, these fascinating objects showcase solutions to some of society’s most pressing issues and goals. By bringing museum objects to life in an immersive environment that imagines objects as if they exist in 2050, users are able to come face-to-face with a firsthand experience with futures that were previously unimaginable. 

After touring a possible future with Smithsonian’s official guide, users can make a real-world commitment to help shape the future into one that they want. This commitment can be downloaded and shared with others via social media. 

“The insight that people are more likely to care about a future they can see themselves in led to an ambitious idea, which we brought to life through a first-of-its-kind technology experience,” said Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer at GS&P. “‘Your Future Guide’ revolutionizes how people interact with museum exhibitions and how they think about the future.” 

“It’s been thrilling to partner with Goodby Silverstein & Partners and multiple teams of innovative thinkers on this new leap in Smithsonian virtual learning,” Goslins said. 

To create “Your Future Guide,” GS&P worked with leading creative production studio Unicorns & Unicorns, and teams of dozens of other collaborators and AIB curators were involved in creating and assessing the experience’s ideas and expressions. 

“‘Your Future Guide’ is experimental yet accessible,” said Brad MacDonald, director of digital media at AIB. “It engages digital visitors on a personal and collective level while pushing the boundaries of what a museum exhibition can be.” 

About “FUTURES” 

“FUTURES” is the Smithsonian’s first major building-wide exploration of the future and temporarily reopens the institute’s oldest museum for the first time in nearly two decades. Part exhibition, part festival and designed by award-winning architecture firm Rockwell Group, “FUTURES” celebrates the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary with more than 150 awe-inspiring objects, ideas, prototypes and installations that fuse art, technology, design and history to help visitors imagine many possible futures on the horizon. 

On view through July 6, “FUTURES” is currently open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Tuesdays, with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free, and no timed tickets are currently required. For more information or to plan a visit, the public can go to aib.si.edu

“FUTURES” is made possible by a select group of sponsors and supporters: Amazon Web Services, Autodesk, Bell Textron Inc., Jacqueline B. Mars, John and Adrienne Mars, the Embassy of the State of Qatar, David M. Rubenstein and SoftBank Group. Major support is also provided by the Annenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Kevin S. Bright and Claudia W. Bright, and Robert Kogod. Additional funding is provided by Accenture, John Brock III, Comcast NBCUniversal, Events DC, First Solar, Ford Motor Company, Wendy Dayton, Charlie and Nancy Hogan, the Suzanne Nora Johnson and David Johnson Foundation, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, MedWand Solutions, the National Football League, the National Football Players Association and Oracle. 

About the Arts and Industries Building (AIB) 

AIB is a home for the future curious. The Smithsonian’s second-oldest building, it opened in 1881 as America’s first national museum, an architectural icon in the heart of the National Mall. Its soaring halls introduced millions to wonders that would change the world—Edison’s lightbulb, the first telephone, Apollo rockets. Dubbed the Palace of Wonders and the Mother of Museums, AIB incubated new Smithsonian museums for over 120 years before finally closing to the public in 2004. “FUTURES” is a milestone first step in the long-term plan to renovate and permanently reopen this landmark space. For more information, visit aib.si.edu. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

About Goodby Silverstein & Partners 

Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P) is an internationally awarded creative company whose mission, “Mass Intimacy,” is to create experiences that reach millions and even billions but seem to speak to all people individually. Named Campaign’s 2020 Agency of the Year, GS&P has created commercials and digital experiences for BMW, HP, Pepsi, Sam Adams, Truly, Frito-Lay, Comcast, E*TRADE, the New Yorker magazine, Adobe and "got milk?" They are also well-known for artistic installations, such as the Dalí Museum’s Dalí Lives, which brought artist Salvador Dalí back to life via deepfake technology; the Cheetos Vision app, which debuted at SXSW and used augmented reality to turn people’s world into Cheetos; and Lessons in Herstory, an app that harnesses artificial intelligence to add women to school history books. 

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Allison Peck

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pecka@si.edu

Irini Zervas
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