Design Museums

14 World Design Museums to Put on Your Bucket List

Where to head on your next holiday? If you’re a lover of design these 14 museums should definitely be on the list. We’ve rounded up our favorites from around the world (with admittedly a LOT in Europe). Go forth and get creative.

14) Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

This fantastically curated museum is right off Sydney Harbor, and filled with frequent exhibitions highlighting everything from fashion history to the latest innovations in product design. Surrounding that is a permanent collection featuring entire steam trains, airplanes, insightful scientific exhibits on global warming and tributes to the art of the cinema.


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13) Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

It’s hard to miss this massive high-tech post-modern building. National Geographic said the unusual building was “love at second sight” when it opened in 1977, but it’s now become a massive destination, seeing millions of visitors every year. Soak in modern art, music and performance, while marvelling at the architectural splendor. If that’s not enough to satiate your senses, head over to the small, but chair-rich Design Museum.


12) Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein

As if the Frank Gehry-designed building wasn’t enough draw, this museum is geared towards the serious product designer or architect, with frequent hands-on workshops for young and old to create, learn and take something home.



11) Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York

The Smithsonian’s very own design museum, this greenery covered Georgian-style mansion is filled with collections and exhibitions which explore around 240 years of design aesthetic and creativity.


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10) Museu del Disseny, Barcelona

This fresh new museum hosts a large selection of Catalonian design history from the third century to present day, all housed in a large 8000 square meter building just off the Placa de les Glòries Catalanes.



9) Museum of Design, Zürich

While the building that houses it is modern, the Museum of Design has been collecting examples of posters, graphics, design and applied art since 1875, providing an exceptionally well rounded selection of everyday objects and iconic design.


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8) ArtScience Museum, Singapore

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, this museum cradles its frequent traveling exhibitions in the form of a giant lotus flower. Themes range from science, to art and history. A past exhibition featured an Eames’ design retrospective and now the museum is featuring an exploration of the Large Hadron Collider.



7) Design Museum, Helsinki

With over 75,000 objects, 40,000 drawings and 100,000 images, Finland’s premiere design museum has plenty to explore. It’s also one of the oldest museums of its kind, having been in existence for over 140 years. Inside you’ll find permanent and traveling exhibitions on industrial design, fashion and graphic design, and if that’s not enough, on the same block is the Museum of Finnish Architecture.



6) Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Housing a vast collection of modern art, contemporary art, and design under one elegant roof, this museum is a must see for any creative traveler to Amsterdam. This museum tends to blur the line between art and design, making it an excellent destination for unexpected inspiration.



5) Design Museum, Copenhagen

This museum puts an emphasis on graphics, with an extensive collection of prints, drawings and posters, along with exquisite textiles and fabrics (with a particular focus on Danish developments in the field over the past 300 to 400 years).



4) Bauhaus Archive, Berlin

Where would design be without the Bauhaus? Not only was the building designed by Walter Gropius, founder of the world changing school of art, design and architecture, but it also houses the school’s historic collection of teaching materials, workshop models, architectural plans and models, photographs, documents and a library. This is what stepping into history feels like.


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3) The V&A Museum, London

It’s impossible to write about design museums without including the Victoria and Albert museum. It is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Get lost exploring full pieces of Italian Renaissance architecture, or appreciate the sleek wooden lines of modern furniture. This museum has it all.



2) Design Museum, London

See it while its still on the River Thames. Zaha Hadid recently purchased the museum’s current building to use as an archive of her studio’s architecture. Soon this museum will be expanding into the former Commonwealth Institute building in west London, taking its exceptionally well curated collection with it.


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1) Museum of Modern Art, New York

The MOMA is perhaps the premier world destination for the latest in art, design, architecture, sculpture, photography, illustration and more. Its impeccably curated exhibitions are frequently hands-on and work to inspire future creativity through an exploration of the past and the best of the present.



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