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Design objects and the museum

Design objects and the museum

Weddell, Joanna, editor; Farrelly, Liz, editor

'Design Objects and the Museum' brings together leading design historians, curators, educators and archivists to consider the place of contemporary design objects within museums. Contributors draw on a wide range of 20th century and contemporary examples from international museums to consider how design objects have been curated and displayed within and beyond the museum

Paperback, Book. English.
Published London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016
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Statement of responsibility: edited by Liz Farrelly and Joanna Weddell
ISBN: 1472577221, 9781472577221
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: xxi, 189 pages : illustrations (black and white) ; 25 cm
Subject: Curatorship; Design; Design History 21st century.; Museums; Museums Curatorship.; Art museums Social aspects.; Crafts.; Design History 20th century.


  1. Acknowledgements
  2. List of Contributors
  3. Preface: Jonathan Woodham, University of Brighton, UK
  4. Introduction: Liz Farrelly, University of Brighton and Design Museum, UK and Joanna Weddell, University of Brighton and Research Department, Victoria & Albert Museum, UK
  5. Section 1: The Canon and Design in the Museum
  6. 1. Exhibiting 'the Taste of Everyday Things': Kenneth Clark and CEMA's Wartime Exhibitions of Design, Sue Breakell, University of Brighton, UK
  7. 2. The Ethos of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) Circulation Department 1947-1960, Joanna Weddell, University of Brighton and the Victoria and Albert Museum, UK
  8. 3. 'I Would Suggest That You Should Not Think of the Design Centre as a Museum; It Is a Live, Active, Moving Thing': Designs of the Year 1957, Ness Wood, University of Brighton, UK
  9. 4. Designing for a New Nigeria: Hayes Textiles Limited and the British Manufacture of Gele in the Post-colonial Period, Nicola Stylianou, Open University, UK
  10. 5. Towards an Uncensored History of Design: Ideal Homes and Constance Spry at the Design Museum, London, Deborah Sugg Ryan, University College Falmouth, UK
  11. 6. Ghosts and Dancers: Immaterials and the Museum, Jana Scholze, Victoria and Albert Museum, UK
  12. Section 2: Positioning Design Within and Beyond the Museum
  13. 7. Indian Living Cultures: Collected, Exhibited and Performed, Megha Rajguru and Nicola Ashmore, University of Brighton, UK
  14. 8. Triennale Design Museum: An Evolving Curatorial Project, Virginia Lucarelli, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  15. 9. Gallery Envy and Contingent Autonomy: Exhibiting Design Art, Damon Taylor, University of Brighton, UK
  16. 10. Contemporary Designers, Cultural Diplomacy and the Museum Without Walls, Gareth Williams, Royal College of Art, UK
  17. 11. Curating Critical Design: An Embodied Criticality, Gillian Russell, Royal College of Art, UK
  18. Section 3: Interpretation and the Challenge of Design
  19. 12. Design, Politics and Museum Presentation, Marianne Lamonaca, Bard Graduate Center, USA
  20. 13. You are Here, We are There: Tracing NID's Design Histories, Tom Wilson, University of Brighton, the Design Museum, London and the British Council, UK
  21. 14. Just What is it that Makes Curating Design so Different, so Appealing? Helen Charman, Design Museum, UK
  22. 15. Design and Museum Interpretation: Contemporary Characterisitcs and Practice, Jason Cleverly, Falmouth University, UK
  23. 16. Interactions in the Museum: Design Culture Salons at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Guy Julier and Leah Armstrong, University of Brighton, UK and Victoria and Albert Museum, UK
  24. 17. Museums Online and Digital: Some Innovations and Implications, Liz Farrelly, University of Brighton and Design Museum, UK
  25. Closing Comments
  26. Index

Author note

Liz Farrelly writes and edits books and articles on design and visual culture, with stints on staff at Blueprint and Eye magazines. She teaches at University of Brighton, UK and her current research about museums and design focuses on London's Design Museum.

Joanna Weddell has a background in architecture and is currently researching post-war design and museology at the Research Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the University of Brighton, UK; she also teaches History of Art.


This book gives a unique insight into the historical perspective of combining design with exhibitions in and outside museums. The case studies give excellent new information on background of politics in design exhibition for example in London Design Museum, but also in Scandinavia and USA. The articles are heavily grounded in relevant literary references of most current academic texts. The book challenges conservative exhibition design thinking and reveals how the many choices of museum exhibition design reflect on our society's political, aesthetic and economic values. The emphasis in the book is laid on theorethical questions on the problematics of exhibiting design in museums, not only about exhibition design of any kind.||Design Objects and the Museum draws on a wide range of contributors who problematize design and its relation to the cannon, the museum, and the challenges of interpretation. The arguments present new models and debates that broaden disciplinary boundaries and expand our ways of thinking about designed objects, both historical and contemporary, and their displayed status.||Farrelly and Weddell (both, Univ. of Brighton, UK) reveal the impact that design objects had on cultural institutions.This is a valuable resource for those interested in art history, design, and museum studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended.