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Questioning Things: A Quarter Century of Material Culture Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

August 24 - November 20


Ruth David Design Gallery : August 24 – November 20, 2022

Questioning Things invites visitors to look closely, to sit down, to compare, to connect, and to interrogate the common and wondrous objects that have animated the work of scholars and students across our campus.  It shares things that make us curious, things we might covet, and things that open new worlds of intellectual possibility. For the past 25 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been a national leader in the study of Material Culture, the interdisciplinary study of the material traces of the past.  In partnership with the Chipstone Foundation this exhibition celebrates the contributions and retirement of Stanley and Polly Stone (Chipstone) Professor Emerita of American Decorative Arts and Material Culture,  and looks ahead to the future of Material Culture on campus now rooted in and reaching out from the School of Human Ecology.  With work ranging from Elizabethan chairs to stylish pumps adorned with rosemaling, from impossible books to fossil pots, Questioning Things reunites a quarter century of UW scholars and alumni to reflect on the many questions objects may inspire. Through conversational labels highlighting diverse objects from eight Wisconsin collections, visitors will learn the kinds of questions material culture approaches help answer.

Related Events: coming soon

Ruth Davis Design Gallery Hours:
Monday-Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: 12–4 p.m.
By Appointment: cdmc@sohe.wisc.edu

Image Details: Teapot and cover, ca. 1760
White stoneware with enamel and salt glaze
4 1/4 x 4 1/8 in. (10.8 x 10.48 cm)
The Chipstone Foundation 1997.19.a-b
Photo credit: Gavin Ashworth


August 24
November 20
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Ruth Davis Design Gallery
Room 1210, Nancy Nicholas Hall, 1300 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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Center for Design and Material Culture
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