The Museum of 21st Century Design
Enhance public understanding and appreciation of design from the 21st century that has positive social or environmental impact. This will be achieved through exhibitions, publications, educational courses, and the presentation of an online collection.
The museum takes an expansive view of design, defining it as a process of translating intention to function in a wide range of media, including the intangible. Web interfaces, strategies for social activism, and critical design will be collected and presented as well as architectural models, furniture, and genetically-edited organisms.
The focus of all programming, collecting and exhibiting will address the priorities, conflicts, tastes, and technologies of our time. The museum will examine design’s consequences and highlight our shared responsibility to achieve greater social and environmental justice.
The museum will showcase design since 2000 that represents the best of its kind: reflective of the cultures from which it has arisen, creatively synthesizing form with function and prioritizing the needs of users and their communities.
Crucially, the museum will not collect or preserve physical objects. Instead, the collection will be digital: photographs, drawings, video, sound and descriptive texts will be archived and updated for each artifact and made available to the public online for study and comment. Attributes of objects such as price, carbon footprint, extent of recyclability, wages of people working on production lines, and any other measurable social or environmental impact will, when known, be recorded along with more traditional data gathered by museums, i.e. measurements, materials, creator’s name, affiliation and year completed. Temporary exhibitions will include physical objects on loan.
The museum will also maintain a study collection of objects under examination for potential induction into the permanent collection.
The museum will be nomadic, with temporary exhibitions around the world. The museum will prioritize organizing exhibitions that have the highest potential for educating the public and facilitating discourse around relevant topics of the day. Objects and special installations will be featured in exhibitions when financially feasible, but a deliberate effort will be toward relying on graphics, video and other inexpensive forms of representation that have the lowest cost, labor requirements, and carbon footprint.
Exhibition mediators will require visitors to talk and to touch exhibitions, flipping the conventional behavior in museum or gallery spaces where touching and talking is forbidden.
Exhibition space will be rented by or donated to the museum as needed and as is financially feasible. Conferences, courses and panel discussions will accompany exhibitions whenever possible.
All exhibitions will be thoroughly documented with photography and video and archived online for study and public comment.
Admission to all exhibitions will be free of charge.
William Myers, Founding Director