The Center for Design and Material Culture supports the study of material culture through our curricular collaborations, exhibitions, and programs. This work includes considering the histories and futures of textiles, the study of design, and the study of historic and contemporary interior architecture.
Certificates in Material Culture
Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates in Material Culture allow UW students to explore diverse ways of making sense of the material world.
Material Culture Courses
Material Culture refers to an interdisciplinary set of methods and may be found in departments across campus.
What is Material Culture?
“Material Culture” refers to the physical traces of the past. This includes diverse, scholarly approaches for studying those physical traces. These may be things that humans have found, adapted, created, or shaped for their use. It is both the stuff of the past, and a set of methods to study them. As an interdisciplinary set of methods, students study the material world through courses in history, design studies, art history, anthropology, art, literature, biology, and more.
History of Material Culture at UW
The University of Wisconsin–Madison has a long history of supporting material culture pedagogy and research under the guidance of Professor Ann Smart Martin. Professor Martin is the founding director of the UW–Material Culture Program and Material Culture Faculty Group. Learn more about our pioneers in material culture.