Talks and Lectures, Films, Special Events, Weekend Festivals, Drop-in Art Activity

Opening Day Celebration California Design

California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way

Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 11am - 4pm

Location: Peabody Essex Museum

Public Gallery Talk

California Design | 11 am
Tickets available day of program
Meet at information desk



Objectified | 11 am - 12:15 pm | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by March 26

Objectified examines our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It's a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It's about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It's about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability.

Through vérité footage and in-depth conversations, the film documents the creative processes of some of the world's most influential product designers, and looks at how the things they make impact our lives. What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves? 2009, 75 minutes, directed by Gary Hustwit.



Docent led Gallery Tours

California Design | 11 am and 2 pm | Meet at information desk


The Great Outdoors

Noon - 4 pm | Atrium

Americans enjoyed outdoor life like never before with design innovations like the Airstream trailer and light, shatterproof materials like spun aluminum and plastics. Drop into this pop-up midcentury "campsite" to  enjoy travel pastimes, learn about design for fresh-air living, and create a custom paint-by-numbers artwork.


Drop-in Art Making

Paper Cutouts | Noon - 4 pm | Atrium



California Design | 1 - 2 pm | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by March 26

This lecture examines the Golden State's role in shaping the material culture of the United States. Beginning with the development of a singular California modernism in the 1930s and the contributions of émigrés, the lecture then explores the design innovations made possible by the conversion of World War II technologies to peace-time use, the California home and its celebration of indoor/outdoor living, and the marketing of California products (and identity) throughout the United States and Europe. Presentation by Wendy Kaplan, Curator and Department Head, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Wendy is joined for a Q & A session by Austen Barron Bailly, the George Putnam Curator of American Art.



Public Gallery Talk

California Design | 2 pm
Tickets available day of program
Meet at information desk



From Bullet Bras to Bra Burning | 3 - 4 pm | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by March 26

Join The Tannery Series for a discussion of  fashion, feminism and the way the home-front became a crucible of social change. Be part of the conversation as award-winning novelist Sigrid Nunez (The Last of her Kind) and sociologist Ashly Mears (Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model) explore beauty, power and the changing lives of women in the 50's, 60's and beyond. Come hear why "Mid-Century Modern" is about more than great design. Hosted by the Tannery Series, bringing literature and people together on the North Shore.


Tickets Available at the Door for the above programs.  First-come, first-served.


Made possible in part by the Lowell Institute

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