The original set of 176 emoji characters, now donated to MoMA.
Shigetaka Kurita/Gift of NTT DoCoMo/Museum of Modern Art/Handout via Reuters
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Back in the day, before cars could drive themselves and phones could send stickers and animations, a Japanese phone company released a set of 176 emojis.New York's Museum of Modern Art declared Wednesday that it had acquired the original set of 176 emojis.Asked how a museum acquires something as ubiquitous as a keyboard symbol or an emoji, Antonelli noted that design works differently than art, which – if the piece (a painting or statue, say) dates from before mechanical reproduction – can be unique.Some design elements, such as the "@" symbol, are in the public domain, which means anyone can use them, and the museum can simply display them.The museum will show the emojis in its lobby through the end of the year, using 2-D graphics and animations, and connecting the old emojis with the current generation.
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