Museums usually acquire tangible objects for their collections, but the Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York has made the unconventional decision to acquire a sizable piece of intangible computer code.
The museum said it has added the
Planetary is a free iPad app that visualizes
"The impetus for the acquisition ... is that software has become one of the most significant arenas of design," said Sebastian Chan, Cooper-Hewitt's director of digital and emerging media, in Smithsonian magazine.
The Cooper-Hewitt said it would make Planetary available as open-source code so that anyone can download and modify it. Bloom Studio ceased operations in late 2012.
The museum also said that its curators planned to create a new version of Planetary that will contain information on the museum's 217,000 objects. It plans to make Planetary a tool to allow visitors virtual access to the museum's entire collection.