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Design Museum of Chicago began as the Chicago Design Museum, initially a one-month pop-up exhibition in an old Humboldt Park warehouse in 2012. Fueled by early success and public interest, further pop-up shows followed — one installed in a CTA train, and another in a retail space at Block 37 in 2013. It was after these exhibits that Tanner Woodford, the Museum’s Executive Director, made the decision to pursue the museum full-time. After a successfully funded $50,000 Kickstarter campaign, the Museum moved into a dedicated space in Block 37 in 2014. Until this time, the Museum had functioned more or less exclusively due to the dedicated and passionate network of volunteers that donated their time and creativity, and to this day the Museum continues to have a strong relationship with its volunteers.

The museum has since grown to a staff of four, still relying on the efforts of volunteers and interns to make possible exhibitions and programming possible. We have exhibited shows featuring a variety of design disciplines, including, but not limited to, architecture, graphic design, game design, and design thinking — not only in our gallery space, but around Chicago and the world.  (Want to learn more?)

Design Museum of Chicago continues to push the boundaries of what “Design” means, both to professionals and to the public. Passionate about the role of museums in the 21st century, we are excited to engage with visitors in traditional and non-traditional ways. Every year brings change and challenges, and the museum is always looking to the future to bring the best content, programming, and experiences possible to our audience.