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Luce Foundation Center Hackathon

Georgina Goodlander, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM (EST)

Luce Foundation Center Hackathon

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Type Remaining End Quantity
On site participation Sold Out Ended Free  

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Event Details

Join us for a weekend of civic hacking to showcase our nation's treasures!

The Smithsonian American Art Museum invites web and software developers (individuals or teams) to create concept prototypes for part or all of a new digital interpretive solution for the museum's Luce Foundation Center. The Luce Foundation Center for American Art is a visible art storage and study center that provides new ways to experience American art. Visitors can select an area to explore at a glance with more than 3,000 works from the permanent collection in 64 secure glass cases.

** Scroll down for FAQs and event rules **

The current interpretive system includes ten computer kiosks that provide the public with information about every object on display and include discussions of each artwork, artist biographies, audio interviews, still images and nearly 70 videos created exclusively for the center. The content is available on the Luce Center's websitetoo. The interface was developed between 2004 and 2006 and uses a proprietary content management system that does not have much flexibility. The museum seeks a new, flexible solution that will allow digital access to our collections data, interpretation, and multimedia content as well as improved integration with social media. Participating developers will be given access to the API for the museum's enterprise digital asset network (EDAN).

The two-day hackathon will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Luce Foundation Center, a demo of the existing kiosks, and an overview of the requirements for the new solution. Food and caffeinated beverages will be provided. The event will culminate on Sunday afternoon with presentations and prizes.

Space is extremely limited. If you register then find you are unable to attend - please remember to remove your registration.

Please note that all registrants will be asked to sign an agreement at the beginning of the event that addresses intellectual property, access to the API, publicity, permissions, and liability.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Registration, byo coffee and breakfast

Meet in the G Street Lobby of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (entrance at 8th and G Streets, NW)

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.


MacMillan Education Center, 1st floor

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Tour of the Luce Foundation Center and demo of the existing kiosks

Luce Foundation Center for American Art, 3rd floor

11:30 a.m. – noon

Overview of requirements for new interpretive solution

MacMillan Education Center, 1st floor

Noon – 1 p.m.

Lunch (provided), teams established.

1 p.m. – 6 p.m.


6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Dinner (provided)

7 p.m. – 11 p.m.


11 p.m.

End of Day 1





Sunday, November 17, 2013

 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Arrivals, byo coffee and breakfast

Meet in the G Street Lobby

10 a.m. – noon


MacMillan Education

Center, 1st floor

Noon – 1 p.m.

Lunch (provided)

1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.


4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Team presentations

6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Judges deliberate & participants vote

7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Prizes awarded!

7:30 p.m.

End of Day 2








FAQs & Rules

  1. What is a hackathon? From Wikipedia: A hackathon is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects.  
  2. How old do I have to be to participate? Participants need to be 18 years of age or older.
  3. Do I need to have experience? While you can certainly learn from other participants, there will be no formal instruction or guidance. We recommend participants have previous experience in web or software development.
  4. Do I need to register in advance? Yes! Space is extremely limited so you need to register in advance through Eventbrite.
  5. Do I participate alone or in a team? You can do either! If you would like to work as a team, you should create the team ahead of time. Each team member attending in person needs to register through Eventbrite. Team members may work remotely, but at least one person needs to be present at the event.
  6. Do I need to attend in person or can I participate remotely? For this hackathon, at least one person per team must attend in person in order to join the tour of the Luce Center and see a demo of the existing kiosks. 
  7. Where is the hackathon taking place? The hackathon is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, located at 8th and G Streets, NW, in Washington D.C. The closest Metro station is Gallery Place/Chinatown on the red line.
  8. What are the hours of the hackathon? The hackathon starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 16 and ends at 7 p.m. on Sunday, November 17. Note that there is no overnight stay at the museum: the event will end at 11 p.m. on Saturday and begin again at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
  9. Can I keep working overnight? You can continue working overnight at home or in some location other than the museum.
  10. What is the theme of the hackathon? The goal of the hackathon is to create new concept prototypes for digital interpretation in the museum’s Luce Foundation Center for American Art.
  11. Do we need to create a finished product? No, we are looking for prototypes or mock-ups that illustrate a design concept by the end of the hackathon, not completed products.
  12. What equipment/resources will be provided? The Smithsonian American Art Museum will provide the space, electrical outlets, and internet access (wifi) for the hackathon, as well as food and caffeine. Participants will need to bring their own equipment, including any computers, tablets, monitors, hard drives, etc. Participants are responsible for their own hosting and deployment. The museum will provide access to the API for the museum's enterprise digital asset network (EDAN). Participants will be required to sign an agreement in order to gain access to the API. The agreement will restrict use of the data to educational, noncommercial purposes only and will outline copyright restrictions with regard to collection images.
  13. What programming language should we use? Does it have to be open source? You can use any open source code or software. All work needs to be submitted to the Smithsonian American Art Museum under an OSI-approved or an FSF-approved open license that allows derivatives. Links: OSI-approved: http://opensource.org/licensesFSF-approved: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#SoftwareLicenses All code should be posted on a publicly available code repository. GitHub and Google Code are popular choices. If you incoporate existing open source code you must make this clear to the Smithsonian upon submission.
  14. What platform should we build for? You should build for a web-based platform. Responsive solutions are preferred.
  15. Who owns the IP behind the prototype that we develop? You own your submission, however, any software submitted must be done so under an open source license (see #13). Further, participants agree that the Smithsonian, and those authorized by the Smithsonian, may use any ideas, products, prototypes, and concepts created, discussed, or identified during the hackathon for all standard museum purposes, without compensation to the participant. Registrants will be asked to sign an agreement addressing intellectual property, access to the API, publicity, permissions, and liability.
  16. Can I attend the event just to hang out? Due to space constraints, there is no capacity for people who will not be participating. However, you are more than welcome to visit the Smithsonian American Art Museum during open hours (11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.) and peek into the hackathon, which will take place in the MacMillan Education Center on the first floor.
  17. Are there prizes? The museum will award several prizes at the end of the hackathon after all participants present their prototypes. Specific contest rules are forthcoming!
  18. What criteria will be used? The judges will award prizes based on but not limited to the following criteria: successful execution of Luce Foundation Center requirements, creativity, usability, quality, and demo performance.
  19. Will my prototype be used or displayed by the Smithsonian? Successful prototypes will be presented to Smithsonian senior staff. The museum may use all or part of the winning designs in the final solution for the Luce Foundation Center. As appropriate and feasible, the museum will credit participants whose submissions are used, in whole or part, by the museum. If the museum opts to hire a contractor to complete the project, participants will be invited to bid on the contract.
  20. Can I promote my participation in the hackathon? You can include your participation in this hackathon for professional development purposes in a resume or a portfolio. You may not use the Smithsonian name or brand to endorse or promote your work.
  21. Tell me more about the data – what’s the database structure? What browsers does my code need to work in? Can we execute any logic on the data? We will send out more information about all the technical details to registered participants closer to the event.


Have questions about Luce Foundation Center Hackathon? Contact Georgina Goodlander, Smithsonian American Art Museum

When & Where

Smithsonian American Art Museum
800 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM - Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 7:30 PM (EST)

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Georgina Goodlander, Smithsonian American Art Museum

  Contact the Organizer
Luce Foundation Center Hackathon
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