Free display Located on the second floor

Made in 1989 – Celebrating 30 years of the Design Museum

This July marks 30 years since the founding of the Design Museum. Opening its doors on the 5th of July 1989, the Design Museum was the world’s first museum devoted to contemporary design. Through archival material on display, revisit the birth of the institution thirty years ago.

#madein1989

What to expect

The Design Museum offered a unique arena for students, practitioners, industry and the general public to come together to both celebrate and expand the field. Thirty years on, it continues to promote design in all its forms, striving to make the impact of design visible to all.

The Design Museum was established by Sir Terence Conran to promote awareness of design in education, industry, commerce and culture.

This ambition first took shape as a series of temporary exhibitions in the basement of the V&A Museum, named the Boilerhouse Project, and later in the establishment of the Design Museum at Shad Thames. The ambition was to “explain why and how consumer objects work and look the way they do, and how design contributes to the quality of our lives."

The Design Museum’s first home was a sleek, white, re-purposed warehouse at Butler’s Wharf on the south bank of the Thames, near Tower Bridge. In 2016 the Design Museum moved to its current site in Holland Park, Kensington.

This free archival display relates to the museum’s opening at its former home in Shad Thames.

Booking information

This is a free display.

Open daily 10:00 – 18:00 (last admission 17:00).

Sir Terence Conran with Ella Bulley

The Design Museum was established by Sir Terence Conran to promote awareness of design in education, industry, commerce and culture. Thirty years on, it continues to promote design in all its forms, striving to make the impact of design visible to all.

Ella Bulley, former Designer in Residence, interviews Sir Terence about his inspiration for building the Design Museum; his most vivid memories from the past 30 eventful years, and his aspirations for the museum's future. 👇

Margaret Thatcher officially opens the Design Museum at Shad Thames

Design Museum entrance at Shad Thames

Top floor gallery, Design Museum - Shad Thames

Margaret Thatcher officially opens the Design Museum at Shad Thames

related event

#madein1989: 30 years of the Design Museum

Celebrate this major milestone with a late evening of music and activities at the museum.

Related display

Made in 2019

To mark its 30th anniversary, the Design Museum asked leading and upcoming designers to create a commemorative icon using the number 30 as inspiration.