By Nick Carson

Design museum: MoMa

Design museums can be a fantastic source of inspiration, and the great cities of the world are packed with incredible examples to get your creative juices flowing.

And museums don’t have to be exclusively dedicated to design to be useful for designers. Whether it’s a collection of conceptual art or vintage posters that sparks a fresh idea, a series of events or workshops that bring the local creative community together, or even the architecture (after all, many museums are famous buildings in themselves).

In this article we’ve gathered together the best design museum collection featuring institutions from around the world. How many have you visited?

01. Museum of Modern Art, New York

MoMA has been called the most influential design museum in the world

New York’s Museum of Modern Art (aka MoMA) boasts a prominent collection that encompasses art, design, architecture, sculpture, photography, illustration and more.

Exhibitions at the design museum have covered topics such as 50 years of Helvetica, contemporary Dutch design and the Bauhaus movement.

Design museum: MoMa store

It’s worth visiting this design museum just for the store

Stephan Thiel, interface designer for Berlin-based Studio Nand, is a big fan of the museum, which is located in midtown Manhattan. “MoMa’s senior curator Paola Antonelli does some excellent work curating design shows, and positioning the museum as an ‘R&D department of society’ as she puts it,” he says.

02. Cooper-Hewitt, New York

Design museum: Smithsonian

The Cooper-Hewitt design museum is dedicated to historical and contemporary design

As an American institution, the Smithsonian is vast, comprising no fewer than 19 museums in total, two of which are in NYC. As the National Design Museum, the Cooper–Hewitt is the only one in the United States dedicated to historical and contemporary design, and the home of the National Design Awards.

Reopened after a major refurbishment, the Cooper-Hewitt mansion is currently home to a number of exhibitions including Process Lab: Citizen Design – an installation built to give visitors first-hand experiences with the activities designers use to solve problems and develop new ideas – and a collection looking at the history of radio.

03. Design Exchange, Toronto

Design museum: Design Exchange

The Design Exchange featured a show from Stefan Sagmeister earlier this year

Currently hosting an exhibition exploring how the natural world has increasingly become a source of design innovation, the Design Exchange is Canada’s most important design museum. Based in downtown Toronto in the city’s old Stock Exchange, its rich program of events included graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show in 2013.

That these lighter and deeper conversations can happen around design is a true luxury

Vanessa Eckstein, creative director of Toronto-based Blok Design, recently participated in a series of talks on the topic of happiness: “To have the DX, where these lighter and deeper conversations can happen around design in everyday life in our city, is a true luxury,” she enthuses. Permanent collections span over five decades …read more

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