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SKATEBOARD

The first major UK exhibition to map the design evolution of the skateboard from the 1950s to today – a story of design, performance and communities progressing together.

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

Skate ramp photography by Felix Speller

Makaha Kicktail. Photograph by Caleb J. Adams

Lonnie Toft pro model Sims 1978. Photograph by Caleb J. Adams

Laura Thornhill, backside kick turn Torrance, 1977. Photograph by Jim Goodrich

Denis Shufeldt, Downhill speed run, La Costa, Carlsbad CA, 1976. © Warren Bolster

Steve Rocco pro model Sims, 1980. Photograph by Caleb J. Adams

Caballero Dragon, Powell Peralta, 1981. Photograph by Caleb J. Adams

Mike McGill, frontside at Del Mar, 1984. Photograph by Grant Brittain

Christian Hosoi, Christ, Air, 1985. Photograph by Grant Brittain

Mark Gonzales, Gemco Bank, frontside boneless, 1985. Photograph by Grant Brittain

Mike Vallely, 1989. Photograph by Spike Jonze

Mike Vallely pro model, 1989. Photograph by Caleb J. Adams

Salva Bevel, 1979. Photograph by Caleb J. Adams

Hosoi Hammerhead, 1986. Photograph by Caleb J. Adams

What to expect

SKATEBOARD chronicles the history of skateboard design from the 1950s to the present day, from homemade, humble beginnings to today’s professional and technologically advanced models.

Curated and designed by author, designer and skater Jonathan Olivares, this is the first UK exhibition to explore the evolution of skateboard design in such detail, developed in partnership with Converse.

The exhibition showcases innovative skateboards and components and track how skateboarders have taken over sidewalks, swimming pools and skate parks designing new boards to suit their performance, style and surroundings.

Around 90 rare and unique boards are on display, alongside over 100 other objects, including hardware such as wheels and tucks, safety equipment, VHS tapes, DVDs, magazines and ephemera. Together they show skateboard’s technical developments and its evolving social acceptance.

Explore a range of contemporary boards alongside 1950s homemade skateboards from California – Laura Thornhill’s Logan Earth Ski 1970s pro model, Tony Hawk’s first ever professional model skateboard, Sky Brown's first pro model and the Sky Brown x Skateistan Almost deck.

SKATE RAMP
The exhibition is also host to a skateboard ramp, which offers skaters the rare opportunity to skate inside a museum and to be part of thousands of people’s exhibition experience. Find out more below or click here for instructions on how to book an Open Skate session which gives you one hour in the #DesignMuseumRamp, plus access to the exhibition on the same day.

When you visit, don't forget to share your favourites with @designmuseum using the hashtags:

#SkateboardExhibition

#DesignMuseumRamp

Book online

Open Skate Sessions

Inside the SKATEBOARD gallery space, you will find a ramp designed by Betongpark with the exhibition curator and skateboarder Jonathan Olivares. If you are a skateboarder and would like to book to skate the ramp, this will you also give you access to the exhibition on the same day. The ramp is open for skateboard only, no rollerblades, scooters or bikes.

Design Museum members have free access but must pre-book a session.

Ticket Information

Adult tickets from £16.00
Children aged 6 to 15 from £8.00
Under 6s go free
Concession/Student tickets from £12.00

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Visit our terms & conditions page for further information.

Opening hours:
Open daily from 10:00 – 17:00 Mondays to Thursdays
10:00 – 18:00 Fridays & Sundays
10:00 – 21:00 Saturdays
Please note that the gallery starts closing 15 minutes before the museum closes.

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MEMBERS GO FREE
Members gain free access to the exhibition at any time and can book Open Skate sessions without any extra cost.

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COMBINATION TICKETS
Want to visit our two exhibitions? Save time and book to see both 'SKATEBOARD' & 'Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli' on the same day.
Please note that if you are aged 16 or over and also want to book Open Skate sessions, you can ask a member of staff on the day for available times to skate on the ramp.

Become a member

Gain free, unlimited access to all exhibitions, members' private previews and discounts in the shop and cafe. Student and Gift Membership are also available – give a loved one a year of design.

From the Press

‘a classic design story, and one that presents the field as a medium through which to understand the wider world’
Disegno

‘The exhibition embodies the spirit of the Design Museum as a space of connection through design’
Wallpaper*

‘this isn’t your regular stuffy museum show: instead of encouraging visitors to admire artefacts and artworks, the Design Museum has embraced a different side of culture’
Time Out

‘a neatly conceived and tightly edited exhibition’
Vogue UK

Exhibition Partner

“Converse, which has been adopted by skateboarders for more than 75 years, leaned on its heritage and members of its global skate team to support the book and exhibit, from concept to final execution.

The initiative represents Converse’s ambition to provide a platform for experiences that exist at the cross-section of creativity and skateboarding: bridging audiences and interests, while providing useful inspiration.”
Phil Russo, VP of Design and Innovation

Ticket Mate Skate

Thanks to the support of donors Dan Kurzius and Family, we are able to offer a number of free tickets to the Skateboard exhibition for charities and community groups through our Ticket Mate Skate scheme.

discover more

10 Unmissable Highlights from #SkateboardExhibition

This exhibition showcases innovative skateboards and components and tracks how skateboarders have taken over sidewalks, swimming pools and skate parks.. explore our 10 unmissable highlights.

Download the free audio guide

Discover the voices of the skateboarding community and let them guide you around the SKATEBOARD exhibition with our audio guide available on the Bloomberg Connects. Remember to bring your headphones to enjoy it during your visit.

Doing it Together Podcast

Listen to 'Doing it Together', our new podcast series on skateboarding communities and wellbeing. In the first episode, Esther Sayers and Vita Zorge, members of the London Skate Mums collective, join curator Tory Turk and founder of The Ben Raemers Foundation Lucy Raemers to talk all things skateboarding, motherhood, self-care and sisterhood.

Skateboard Phaidon publication

The exhibition's accompanying publication is curated and written by Jonathan Olivares, designed by Apartamento Studios and published by Phaidon. Developed in collaboration with Converse, the book is an authoritative chronicle of the history of skateboard design from the 1950s to the present day. Pre-order today or buy at the Design Museum Shop from 2024.

Related events

SKATE DREAMS Film Screening

Join us for a special matinee screening of Jessica Edward’s pioneering documentary SKATE DREAMS followed by a conversation with Skate GB’s rising star Lilly Strachan and 1970s skate legend Thea Cutts.

Adult Workshop: Skate Photography

Learn how to compose, light and shoot skateboard action images in the skateable space of our SKATEBOARD exhibition.

Adult Workshop: Skatepark Masterplanning

Join a one-day blast to learn the essentials behind skateable space design, how skateboarding can be placed in the city and how you could build it.

How does Skateboarding shape cities?

Join a conversation panel with Iain Borden, Charlie Davies, Sam Elstub, Charles Myatt and Esther Sayer to discuss discuss skate spaces, communities and culture and how skateboarding animates and shapes the city.

Design Camp: Zine Making for 11 to 14 year olds

This one-day creative workshop will introduce young people to the exciting and inspiring world of zine making, photography and DIY culture.

Design Camp: Skateboard Deck Making for 8 to 11 year olds

In this creative workshop, children will learn about the unique skill of deck pressing using the vacuum press – a hands on experience designing, making and decorating a skateboard deck to keep.

SKATEBOARD: BSL Tour

Join guide Edward Richards for a tour of the highlights of the exhibition SKATEBOARD, delivered in British Sign Language for d/Deaf visitors using BSL and their companions.

SKATEBOARD: Audio Described Tour

Join guide Andrew Mashigo for an audio-described tour of the exhibition SKATEBOARD for blind and visually impaired visitors and their companions.

Adult Workshop: Design and Screen Print your own Brand

Join this workshop led by Stu Smith, founder of Lovenskate, to experiment with screen printing. Go from the design concept to the print process to start building your visual identity – be it a brand or self-expression.

Background image: Skateboard exhibition photographed by Felix Speller.