The Center for Design and Material Culture is the primary destination for the multi-disciplinary study of material culture and design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Explore our Collection and Galleries
The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection is one of the nation’s largest university-held textile collections with over 13,000 textile artifacts spanning 16 centuries and 108 countries.
The Ruth Davis Design Gallery is an exhibition space focused on the processes and results of design. Exhibitions include national, international makers, and students from the School of Human Ecology’s Design Studies program.
Featured Exhibitions and Programs
In the culmination of three years of intensive work, Design Studies MFA candidates Amanda Thatch and Han-ah Yoo present their thesis work in two (virtual) exhibitions. Tromp as Writ, Thatch’s body of work, explores the interaction of text and pattern through hand-woven images derived from observations while walking, an activity the artist found solace in during the pandemic. Yoo’s Relationships: Invisible, but Extant brings together expressive textile and video artworks, inspired by nature and the body, that are designed to provoke awareness of the adverse ecological impacts of the fashion industry.
From keepsakes to clutter, from tools to trash, the things we make, use, ponder, and save carry stories within them that tell us about ourselves and our worlds—that’s “material culture.” A podcast from the Center for Design and Material Culture, Refrangible explores the stuff of everyday life and what it tells us about ourselves, our world, and our values. Listen to the trailer available now and join the CDMC's Producer-in-Residence, award-winning journalist Gianofer Fields, on April 7th when the first episode, "The Home Front," becomes available.