College of Design

Goldstein Museum of Design


Thanks to ongoing financial support from people like you, we are able to continue to digitize the GMD's extensive collection of over 30,000 items of apparel, textiles, furniture, decorative arts, and more. The digitization team (fondly known in-house as "Team Digi") makes it possible for you to see the collection online, no matter where you are. This March we have the pleasure of welcoming a brand new photographer, Ellen Skoro, to the team.

Until it closed last summer, Ellen was a photography instructor and administrator at the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul. With a Masters degree from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a Bachelors degree from Columbus College of Art and Design, Ellen has extensive experience as a freelance photographer. Her personal work, which can be seen at, focuses on portraiture. She was recently awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) Artist Initiative grant to finish a six-year portrait project. Her other work has revolved around capturing still lifes of objects, experience that will translate directly to photographing the GMD collection.

Currently, Team Digi is photographing a variety of textiles from the collection. In order to create the illusion that the pieces are lying flat or magically floating in a void, the team must create an elaborate setup consisting of black panels and fabric-covered bars propped against the wall at just the right angle. Following the same protocol that has been in place for the objects that have been photographed in the past, the team meticulously calibrates the camera and shoots with powerful strobes in soft boxes. Undaunted by the complexity of this challenge, Ellen instead is exhilarated. "This museum is so cool! I'm really excited to be here!" she tells us. We couldn't agree more.

To date, 6,000 objects (or 20% of the collection) have been photographed and can be viewed online. You can now contribute directly to the continuation of this project. Visit to help make our collection accessible anywhere in the world.

Visit to search the collection.

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by Paula DeGrand

I've been volunteering in the Goldstein Museum of Design Research Center most Tuesday mornings for a year and a half. I recently finished working with a couple thousand donor files. The files I saw each week contain the paperwork – deeds of gift, acknowledgment letters, and inventories of donations – involved in changing the ownership of property. What an interesting way to learn about a collection!

Over the months, I found not only deeds of gift and acknowledgment letters, but yellowed newspaper clippings of wedding announcements, faded portraits of wearers in their finery, fabric swatches, receipts for a suit tailored in Shanghai a century ago and for lingerie from Deco-era Paris. As I worked my way through these files, I couldn't resist seeing whether certain donations had been photographed and were included in GMD's online collection database. When they had, I could count on properly prepared and lighted garments and accessories that had been photographed in beautiful detail. I construct clothes from 1930s, '40s, and '50s patterns and am always excited to find and share documentation of aesthetic choices and technical solutions from those periods. GMD's photographs are simply great ways to see these details.

The photographs are so inspiring and instructive that when I started my blog, Getting Things Sewn, a year ago, I created a feature, "Backstage at the Goldstein," to showcase garments I'd discovered during this project. Using these photographs, I have brought to my readers' attention curved welt pockets, bound buttonholes, and a whimsical yet sophisticated use of polka dots. Invited to look closely, even my readers who don't sew have responded with surprise, enjoyment, and curiosity.

It puts a smile on my face to remember walking into the Research Center and seeing, close-up, clothing and accessories not only by the best-known designers but also by skilled dressmakers and home sewers whose names are unknown to us today. Thank you, Goldstein staff, for preserving these precious items.

Visit to read more about Paula's explorations of the GMD collection and to see the projects it has inspired.

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ElizaPantsTwophotos.jpg Rod Hasse Photography

by Elizabeth Bischoff

I am a sophomore at the U of M, Twin Cities, pursuing an apparel design major as well as a retail merchandising minor. I also have the great fortune to be a part of gallery staff at the Goldstein Museum of Design.

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in Align, the Apparel Design Fashion Show on the 15th of February. The show is meant specifically for the seniors to showcase their work, but sophomores and juniors in the program get to showcase a piece of their own work as well.

Pants Project Mood Board.jpg
I showcased a pair of pants I designed, patterned and sewed to fit my body. The pants are a palazzo style with a high waist; both the waistband and pocket openings feature a scallop detail. The inspiration came mostly from the need of a pant for the everyday girl to wear to an interview or out and about.

Before I could walk down the runway, however, there was a lot to be done. I first had to get through hair and make up, model for a photo shoot and rehearse my walk down the runway. Rehearsing and performing the walk was, perhaps, the most difficult part of the day. I was told to hold my head high, keep my shoulders back and walk with one foot in front of the other - all the while maintaining a neutral expression. From this, I learned the valuable lesson of poise, which helped me display my work to the best advantage. In addition to learning this great lesson, I got to go through this first-time experience with my classmates and show off my hard work.

Pants Project Final Sketch Swatches Flats.jpg

Visit for more information about Align.

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This fall, the College of Design's Text and Image class (GDES 3351) was asked to design a graphic identity (the look that unifies all the promotional materials for an event) for the upcoming Goldstein exhibition, "Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer." This was no small task, as every exhibition requires postcards, posters, banners, and text panels that work together to quickly convey its tone and content to the public.

This is not the first time the Goldstein has collaborated with students. Previous exhibitions have featured student work, including "Quest for the World's Best Baskets," "Redefining, Redesigning Fashion," and "Printed Textiles: Pattern Stories."


The project started in October with a presentation about Vera scarves and the designer responsible for their success, Vera Neumann. The exhibition themes were discussed, helping students gain a sense of what message these postcards and posters need to send. Following the sneak peek, students were provided with images of the Goldstein's Vera scarves - over 200 - and a short list of requirements. Aside from this, they were free to experiment.

verascarvesDEC2013.jpgScarves by Vera Neumann (American, 1907-1993), Goldstein Museum of Design, Gift of David Anger and James Broberg.

Goldstein staff members were asked to attend two formal critiques. During the first session, each student presented three ideas in draft form. The best of the three was selected. Students then developed that design into a final product.

On December 18, 2013, the class presented their final designs. With 25 excellent designs to choose from, Goldstein staff had a difficult decision to make. In the end, a design by Aimee Brouchard was selected. Aimee's playful composition features a large photo of Vera, resplendent in her signature blonde bob hairstyle and thick black glasses, surrounded by flowers designed for her iconic scarves.


by Natasha Thoreson

Signed by Vera: Scarves by an Iconic Designer will be on display in Gallery 241, McNeal Hall
May 17 - June 29, 2014.
Opening Party: Friday, May 16, 6-8pm

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by Jessica Barness (MFA Design '12, UMN)
Assistant Professor, School of Visual Communication Design
Kent State University

Just over a year ago, the Goldstein Museum of Design's Emigre Magazine Index was launched to communicate and provide online access to the contents of Emigre magazine issues in the GMD collection. As the designer and author of this project, I shared my research at the inaugural 'Design and the Digital Humanities' panel at the Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 national convention, held November 8-10 in Milwaukee, WI. Our panel examined the role of design and digital technologies in humanities research, and my work was joined by other presentations on data visualization, design education and video poetry.

An important part of graphic design authorship history, Emigre magazine was published from 1984-2005. Its first issues coincide with the early use of MacIntosh computers by graphic designers, and parallels were noted between this and the exploration of digital technologies by designers today.

In the panel discussion I talked about my design process, in which a sketchbook and spreadsheet evolved into a complex website that highlights how form and content are intertwined in Emigre magazine. On the website, colors, typefaces, organizational structure and the many ways the reader can interact with the content are deliberately designed to affect understanding.

Additionally, attendees were introduced to the magazine's size, theme, and format changes, as well as my decisions on how hundreds of authors and contributions were included, ranging from writing, type design and interviews to graphic layouts, sound/video and guest edited issues. In a broad way, this process could be brought into museum collections or other digital humanities projects to create communicative, alternative research tools.


The Emigre Magazine Index is accessible to the public at

Funding for this project was provided by the Goldstein Museum of Design's
Jerome Joss Graduate Internship.

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The History and Future of Product Design

In a new course being offered at the University of Minnesota this spring, "The History and Future of Product Design" (PDes 3170), students from diverse majors across the University will spend the semester examining the key movements, figures, philosophies and technologies that have advanced the field of industrial/product design, and investigating how this historical foundation continues to inform and inspire the designers of today and tomorrow.

mies_brno_chair_starck_alessi_drskud.jpg left: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich "Brno" chair (c. 1929-30) right: Philippe Starck for Alessi "Dr. Skud" fly swatter (1998)

Students will have opportunities throughout the semester to work hands-on with objects from the museum's collection and to explore firsthand the evolution of technology and the application of new materials and processes to everyday consumer goods. Students will then apply their understanding of these factors to forecast future trends and continuing developments in the fields of industrial and product design.

zeisel_tea_service.jpg Eva Zeisel for Castleton China "Museum White" tea service (1943)

Design graduate student Curt Lund, whose own research focus is on design history and collection, will be leading the class in activities that engage the meaning-making process of design history and underline the role of creativity, innovation, discovery, and expression across the discipline. "At the heart of this curriculum is a critical exploration of design and an understanding of what designed objects and environments can mean to consumers and their quality of life," Lund said. "The Goldstein is a perfect partner in this effort, as these ideas are also fundamental to the museum's own mission and vision."

Goldstein Museum AppJOUR 4991Spring2014.jpg

In the second semester of a year-long collaboration with the Goldstein Museum of Design, the "Goldstein Museum App" course (JOUR 4991/ ArtH 3940) will create content (text, video, photography, audio) for an iPad application that will allow the public to explore the museum's collection in a new and dynamic way. As students plan the app, they will focus on creating an intuitive user experience with multiple levels of interaction and engagement.

Taught by Camille LeFevre (arts journalist, college instructor, and editor of The Line), the course will allow students from departments across the University to collaborate. They will bring diverse skill sets including graphic design, video and audio shooting and production, art-historical research, writing and journalism, photography, UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) and interactive/immersive online/mobile environments, and app development to the process. Through feedback from the GMD staff throughout the semester, an app will be designed that will make the museum's collection accessible to a whole new audience.

Both courses are still open for registration. Sign up today!

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We are pleased to announce that Mary Alice Chaney joined the Goldstein Museum of Design staff this week. Although Mary Alice is new to her role as Exhibitions Coordinator (the position previously held by Jim Dozier, who retired this fall), she is no stranger to the museum. While working on her Masters degree at UMN, Mary Alice did exhibition installation in what is now Gallery 241 for two years. In the spring of 2010, when she was a PhD candidate in Apparel Studies (with a minor in Museum Studies), she served as the GMD Communications Assistant. She also completed an internship here at the museum where she studied the deaccessioning process. Her dissertation was on Hmong baby carriers in Minnesota, which grew out of her Master's work in Hmong textiles. She later wrote an article on world baby carriers for the Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion.

While she was completing her dissertation, Mary Alice had an internship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. She then went on to a position at the Beverly Historical Society in Beverly, Massachusetts. There, she started work on a comprehensive inventory of their textile collection, including dresses from the early 1800s.

Mary Alice will be planning and installing exhibitions in both Gallery 241 in McNeal Hall and the HGA Gallery in Rapson Hall. She will also be working with the museum's collection. Please join us in welcoming her back!

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Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry: 16th Century Ribbed Vaults in Mixteca, Mexico is on display in the Goldstein Museum of Design's HGA Gallery at Rapson Hall through October 13th. Researcher and guest exhibition curator, Benjamin Ibarra Sevilla (Assistant Professor, Architecture, CDes) will be giving an opening lecture Monday, September 16, 6pm in Rapson Hall 100.

Nicholas Kramer, a UMN Architecture student, shares with us the process behind the 3D printing of the models of the vaults and their keystones in the exhibition.


The models in the Mixtec Stonecutting exhibit are the product of many hours, many hands, and several different machines. Before the digital models existed, the only place to see these vaults was within their respective churches in Mexico. After many hours with a 3D scanner, they had literally been turned into clouds of points, inhabiting their respective places within a computer.

Point Cloud 1.JPG
Point Cloud 2.JPG
From the point cloud data, digital models of each vault were constructed, and the keystones extracted. Building and refining these models to the exacting specifications of the 3D printer took many months. The 3D printer requires the models to be "water tight", meaning they must be a complete solid with no bare edges. This can be difficult in such complex pieces. Since each model is a different size and has a different degree of complexity, the time it takes to print each piece varies tremendously.

Tepos Digital Model.JPG

Yan Digital Model.JPG
Some of the pieces in the exhibit were printed overnight and took little interaction other than pressing the print button on the 3D printer, while others took upwards of two days to print and even longer to remove from the support material.


The process of creating these models was a tremendous challenge, but ultimately proved to be an invaluable learning experience. The most exciting thing for us is that the models provide the opportunity to see and study something many would never have been exposed to otherwise.



– by Nicholas J. Kramer, School of Architecture, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, B.D.A

Images courtesy of Nicholas Kramer and GMD.

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You became a GMD member to support good design and we sent you a welcome letter, but did you notice that your membership level may make you eligible for benefits? For example, GMD members from the Individual ($40) through Director's Circle level ($1,000) can join the Weisman Art Museum at a discounted price, opening the doors of one of our sister museums at the University.

membertourobjects.jpgleft: brown leather shoes, 1895-1899, designer unknown. right: green and brown carved bakelite cuff, date and designer unknown.

If you joined at the Household ($55) through Director's level your welcome packet included notecards, a coupon for $20 off an order from Signals catalog, and your own GMD lanyard. What else can GMD membership do?

Members from the Sponsor ($150) through Director's level receive a card that can be redeemed for one to four parking passes. Bring yours to the office, Research Center, or Gallery 241 to get your comp pass (required) to sail through the parking kiosk.

l to r: Don Johnson (Indian textile collector), Lin Nelson-Mayson (GMD director), Risha Lee (curator of Southeast Asian art at the MIA), and Helen "Brad" Foster (GMD member) looking at Kashmiri shawls for inclusion in upcoming MIA exhibition.

Recently, a Patron member ($250) scheduled a back stage tour of GMD's storerooms for himself and a friend. Since GMD has a large collection (30,000 objects) but no long-term collection gallery, getting a behind-the-scenes peek into the storage is a special experience of discovery. This personal tour for two is a benefit of membership from Patron through Director's.

Finally, at the Benefactor ($500) and Director's level you are eligible for a tour for one or two and lunch with the director. Lunch is our treat for you (and your guest) to thank you for your support.
Check your benefits. What experiences can we facilitate for you, valued member?

−Lin Nelson-Mayson, GMD director

Not a member? Join today!

Note: Individual, Household and Senior membership rates increased on September 16, 2013. This blog entry has been edited to reflect this change.

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Ever wonder how the digital images in our database are generated? Since January 2010 we have managed to photograph nearly 20% of the Goldstein Museum of Design's collection. How did we produce so many stellar digital images? Well, our crack team of one Photographer and one Preparator (known in house as 'Team Digi') put their combined 45 years of experience into action every day they come to work. From dressing body forms in period costume to artfully arranging the tassels on a purse, the Preparator readies items for photography. Meanwhile, our Photographer makes sure the star of every photo shoot is well lit and in focus. But it isn't all fun and games. Team Digi works with the Goldstein's Assistant Curator and Registrar to select items and stay on target. The Preparator keeps a running tally of all items that have been photographed while the Photographer works tirelessly behind the scenes in post-production before placing the images in our database and on line.

In June Team Digi focused on the Goldstein Museum's shoe collection. One of the many challenges they encountered was the dreaded 'ankle-strap slump'. These deep-blue ankle strap sandals with silver linings and kicky little rhinestone encrusted buckles from the 1930's are a good example of this condition.

This pair of sandals was transported to the photo studio snuggled in their handy coroplast storage mount. The sandals were removed from the storage mount and - Presto! - the straps slumped forward, giving little idea of how smashing the sandals really are.

The Preparator leapt into action and attached long loops of thread to the ankle straps. The shoes were quickly photographed with their accession number and a card with a grey scale.

Animation time! The loops of thread were carefully guided onto the ends of two long wooden dowels by the Preparator and the dowels held aloft over the sandals. The Photographer zoomed in to capture the shot.

Later, back in her office, the photographer got down to work. Using Photoshop the thread was removed from the image as if by magic, the color balanced and the image cropped. The sandals are finally captured in all their grandeur and the image is ready for the world to see!

Visit our online collection to see all of the images of this pair of sandals and to search our database for other treasures. For more about our shoe storage mounts see our article "The Ultimate Shoe Project" from the Goldstein Museum of Design's Summer 2012 Newsletter.

−Team Digi

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