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Time for (design) discoveries: the MoMA exhibition archive

The current epidemic calls on us to live as secluded a life as possible. This situation means the online presence of international museums is booming, offering a welcome opportunity to explore both contemporary and historical aspects of art, design and cultural history – without having to leave the safety of our homes. So we would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to a selection of what’s on offer. While these resources are not new, they are compelling, for the design world in particular: digital archives which are fascinating to browse and hold the key to some very unexpected discoveries. For some years now, the Exhibition history digital collection from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has not only been preserving documents from previous exhibitions, but also making them freely available in digital form to anyone interested. Photographs of works from exhibitions that have been shown ever since the museum was founded in 1929, as well as their presentation, together with press releases, long out-of-print catalogues, audio or video formats and exhibition websites are waiting to be discovered. The many exhibitions include some that are iconic in the design world. For example, the “Good Design” programme from the 1950s and the “Italy: the New Domestic Landscape” exhibition from 1972 – still considered legendary to this day – and “SAFE: Design Takes On Risk” from 2005/2006 or the “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibition, whose interactive website – which is still available – attracted attention as far back as 2008.

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