The Story of the Design Museum

Learn more about the Design Museum's three-decades journey.

Made in 1989

2019 marked 30 years since the Design Museum originally opened its doors in a converted banana warehouse in Shad Thames. Find out more about the history of the museum and the exhibitions from the past three decades.

Moving to Kensington

The Design Museum opened its doors in its new location on 24 November 2016. Explore the story of the move.

Head of Invention

Discover the influence of Scottish sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi on the Design Museum founder, Terence Conran, and learn more about the iconic Head of Invention sculpture now displayed at the entrance of the museum.

Trail: The making of a landmark

The Design Museum has preserved 10 histor­ic items from the former Commonwealth Institute building. An information panel is located next to each item, and together they form a trail which tells the story of the building. There are three trail points outside the building and seven trail points inside. When you visit, make sure to look for the silver plaques around the building. Ask a member of staff if you need any assistance or download a digital file with information about the historical points below.

App: Adapt project

To mark the museum's fifth year in Kensington, we partnered with Snapchat to create Adapt, an augmented reality experience that reimagines our iconic building in the age of Waste and climate change envisioning how architecture could adapt to extreme weather conditions.

The Story of the Design Museum book

The publication charts the history of the Design Museum from the 1980s to the present day – from twenty-five years of groundbreaking exhibitions at its former home in Shad Thames to the future in its spectacular new home in a landmark 1960s architectural icon in Kensington.