Design Museum Boston is Popping Up
First, there were pop-up toys like Jack-in-the-box. Next came the pop-up shops that temporarily occupy vacant commercial spaces, usually selling crafts and seasonal goods around Christmastime. And, now there are pop-up museums. Locally, the Design Museum Boston is the city’s only pop-up museum and its first museum dedicated exclusively to design.
“Getting There: Design for Travel in the Modern Age,” is Design Museum Boston’s latest pop-up exhibition. It recently debuted in Terminal E at Logan International Airport, where it will be on view for about a year, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. And, it’s free.
“One of our key goals is to showcase and make great design accessible to the public,” says Sam Aquillano, who teaches design at Wentworth Institute of Technology and co-founded the museum with Derek Cascio, a product designer who also teaches at Wentworth. Thousands of people pass through Terminal E and may see the exhibition, which includes a timeline of ship, train, and air travel innovations presented with posters, videos, and artifacts.
During the heavy holiday traffic time, travelers whose flights are delayed may find that they can relax a while at the museum’s displays. Director of Aviation for Massport, Ed Freni hopes that the exhibition will “reduce the stress levels some people associate with travel.” He says that the theme of the exhibition makes the airport a perfect host venue, and adds, “Art at the airport is a critical component of customer service.
Visitors may be amused at displays that show travelers dressed up for their journey with several matching suitcases in tow, a far cry from informal travel today with the surcharge for luggage. Different too are the fine china dishes and silver knives and forks formerly used to serve meals to travelers. Today, travelers consider themselves lucky to get a miniscule bag of peanuts.
Other displays trace the design evolution of such traveler accessories as noise-canceling headsets, airline seats, and train interiors. Drawings, models, and prototypes from design firms such as Bose, Samsonite, Teague, and IDEO, highlight projects that have addressed design challenges and the constraints of human travel. Vintage posters from the Grand Circle Gallery collection also show how travel has evolved.
As for Design Museum Boston, it’s already preparing for its next pop-up exhibition, public seating for Fort Point Channel, Boston. The museum is challenging individuals and groups from around the world to design an iconic bench or street seat “to improve the livability of a burgeoning city neighborhood” that, it states, includes 1300 businesses, 33,000 workers, 1900 residents, and continues to expand. On the museum’s web site, the call for entries notes, “Public seating sets the scene for chance encounters, people watching, connecting with nature, or just taking a break.”
The Street Seats Design Challenge exhibition will be on view in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood and for walking tours from April to October 2013.