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Serious Play:
Design in Midcentury America

September 28, 2018–January 6, 2019
Baker/Rowland Galleries

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America explores the projects of over 40 designers who advocated for playfulness and whimsy within their creations for corporations, domestic interiors, and children. The exhibition presents play as a serious form of inspiration, experimentation, and problem solving. In midcentury America, such playful design occurred against the backdrop of a booming consumer market and as a counterbalance to Cold War–era anxiety. Furniture, toys, textiles, films, posters, ceramics are among the objects featured.

Co-organized with the Denver Art Museum

Presenting Sponsors:

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

Artworks | National Endowment for the Arts Brady Herman Miller Cares
Supporting Sponsors: In Memory of L. William (Bill) Teweles BSI Melinda and Ken Krei The Terri and Verne Holoubek Family Foundation Anonymous

Programs + Events

*CANCELED* Gallery Talk: First Impressions: Early Printed Books in Europe

Tuesday, April 14, 1:30 PM

Explore the individual leaves and bound books featured in this gallery rotation that were created during the first century after the adoption of the printing press in Europe. The talk will be given by Catherine Sawinski, Assistant Curator of European Art.

Gallery S202
Free for Members
Free with Museum admission 


  • Ray Eames with the first prototype of The Toy, 1950. © Eames Office LLC (