Smithsonian Global

American Spaces Reassessment and Design Project

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Participants in a design prototyping activity in Brazil



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Collaboration and Innovation

The U.S. Department of State’s American Spaces program is a global network of places that provide platforms for public diplomacy programs promoting open dialogue, free access to information, counteracting negative preconceptions, and building bridges of mutual understanding. Visitors to these spaces can experience and learn about American culture and values, gain information about studying in the U.S. and learn English, among an array of program offerings. Visitors to American Spaces can now access and enjoy the world of the Smithsonian through curated content and – in a dedicated number – redesigned physical spaces as part of the American Spaces Assessment and Redesign Project, a multi-year partnership with the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs.

For many years, creative and dedicated State Department staff cultivated these spaces with local resources. Since 2011, the State Department has been working with experts from the Smithsonian to create a more cohesive, modern, and innovative network of spaces. The American Spaces partnership draws on Smithsonian’s expertise from across our museums and research centers - from the redesign of the physical space, to the curation of Smithsonian content, to trainings for local volunteers and staff. Led by the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations, Smithsonian teams have visited two dozen American spaces, on every continent except Antarctica!

The American Spaces network fosters dialogue between local communities and American culture, history and values. American Spaces provide a safe place where young people can learn new skills, meet and connect with each other, American diplomats, local experts, find resources and talk about issues that matter to them. Through these spaces, the State Department and Smithsonian are working together to facilitate diplomacy on a human scale, through everyday interactions and exchange.


Michael Lawrence   

As the Chief of Design for the Office of Exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History, Mike Lawrence is responsible for the design quality of all permanent and temporary exhibits, graphics and signage within the Museum.

Amy Homma  

Amy Homma is the Director of Digital Learning at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Aviva Rosenthal  

Aviva Rosenthal is the Director of the Smithsonian's Office of International Relations and Global Programs.

Liz Tunick Cedar  

Liz Tunick Cedar is the Manager of Global Cultural Sustainability Programs in the Office of International Relations at the Smithsonian Institution, where she is responsible for leading new partnership development and overseeing the strategic planning and execution of global projects in art and culture.

Lauren Appelbaum  

Lauren Appelbaum is a Program Coordinator in the Office of International Relations at the Smithsonian Institution.