Design Museum awards 2019 Distinguished Service Medal

As we enter our 10th year at Design Museum Foundation, we’re starting a new tradition to celebrate the importance of service. We rely on the support of our community and individuals willing to give their time, money, and expertise in service of our mission to bring the transformative power of design everywhere. To build on 10 years of incredible service from individuals at every level of our organization, we launched the Distinguished Service Medal at our Annual Meeting and awarded the first medal to our Board Chair, Matt Edlen.

Sam, Matt Edlen, and Liz all stand in a row. Matt Ellen wears a medal around his neck

Design Museum Executive Director Sam Aquillano; Matt Edlen, Director of East Coast/Midwest Acquisitions, Gerding Edlen; Liz Pawlak, Design Museum Vice President.

From our Executive Director:

I first met Matt when his company came to Boston to begin various projects in the city — I actually met his mother, Ann, first; an amazing woman who has also given her time and expertise so generously to our work. Matt and I immediately felt the impact of our shared values around people, placemaking, and design. Matt was a judge on the Street Seats design challenge in 2012; he was a Design Museum Mornings presenter; we worked closely with him and others at Gerding Edlen as they underwrote the launch of our nationally-traveling Green Patriot Posters exhibition, with posters about fighting climate change; and Matt, and his network — which he so generously shares with the Design Museum — were instrumental in our expansion to Portland, Oregon.

Matt joined our Board of Directors in 2016 and freely gave his time and expertise to build our internal capacity and key financial processes. As our Board Chair, he’s making impact by leading our growing Board and Councils to help achieve our mission. Most importantly, he shows up — you can often find him in our offices in Boston and Portland at least once a week — he leads by embedding himself in our organization, something we all appreciate.


It is my honor to award our first Distinguished Service Medal to Matt Edlen. Matt, we are so grateful for your service to Design Museum Foundation.


Thank you,


Sam Aquillano
Executive Director, Design Museum Foundation