Last night I had the pleasure of attending the opening of The Museum of Modern Art's (MOMA) latest exhibit, Century of the Child: Growing by Design. A grand affair where the drinks were flowing and everyone was wearing their fanciest attaire, I loved having the chance to check out this interesting exhibit that featured a collection of childhood objects and concepts from 1900–2000. Through this innovative exhibit, I was able to see how advances in design changed and advanced the way children learned and played.
I started by sitting in the massive Tripp Trapp highchair, a favorite of my daughters. I loved snatching a photo opp in this iconic chair that has played a role in how children sit since the 1970s.
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Encompassing everything from kindergarten lesson plans and classic furniture to wartime propaganda, it was fascinating to see how design and its innovations have expanded through the years. This also included seeing various ways children played, including a display of the Slinky, an old dollhouse from the 1970s to modern era television like the popular Pee-Wee Herman and friends display.
The entire exhibit features over four hundred items, including school architecture, clothing, playgrounds, safety equipment, nurseries, books, models, toys, furniture and illustrations where I was able to see how design has shaped the physical, intellectual, and emotional development of children that only continues to grow and reshape with the advances of new design concepts, and of course technology.
The term, "Century of the Child" was coined in 1900 by Swedish design reformer and social theorist Ellen Key in her book of the same name. With inspiration from Key, the exhibit examines the stark reality of political turmoil through the eyes of children as well as the development and advances through architecture and design.
An exhibit devoted to play and design, I loved seeing through the lense of what children experienced during the century while also seeing unique design concepts devoted to creativity, play and evoking the carefree spirit of childhood.
Families can also enjoy the fun with their Pop-Up Play on Friday, August 10, 2012. Through this event, families can learn about innovative play methods and spaces of the past. Educators will be on hand to facilitate child-directed play, but parents must accompany their children. Organized in collaboration with Pop-Up Adventure Play.