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The National Design Awards were conceived by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum to honor the best in American design. First launched at the White House in 2000 as an official project of the White House Millennium Council, the annual Awards program celebrates design in various disciplines as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seeks to increase national awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement. The Awards are truly national in scope–nominations for the 2009 Awards were solicited from a committee of more than 2,500 leading designers, educators, journalists, cultural figures, and corporate leaders from every state in the nation. Cooper-Hewitt chooses a distinguished jury of designers and design thinkers, which selects the winners and finalists in nearly every category.
The National Design Awards is one of the few programs of its kind structured to continue to benefit the nation long after the Awards ceremony and gala. A suite of educational programs will be announced this summer in conjunction with the Awards by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s award-winning Education Department, including a series of public programs, lectures, roundtables, and workshops based on the vision and work of the National Design Award winners.