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Chicago Design Museum began as a one month pop-up exhibition on the third floor of an old warehouse in Humboldt Park in 2012. An all-volunteer effort, the Chicago design community created a space that served as a place for the community to gather, reflect, and provoke. After a show installed in a CTA train car and a second pop-up in Block 37 in 2013, Executive Director Tanner Woodford decided to leave his job at Morningstar to pursue the museum full time. ChiDM launched a Kickstarter campaign for our first exhibition as a permanent institution in 2014, raising over $50,000 in a month.

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

ChiDM strives to continue 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 audiences.