Support Youth Design Education in Boston

November 21, 2019 | | View Comments

What a year 2019 has been! This year Design Museum Boston celebrated 10 years! It was a decade ago that my Co-Founder Derek and I launched this new kind of museum that invites anyone and everyone to take part in the design conversation — because design impacts us all.

This year also marks the launch of a new focus for us, one that is near and dear to my heart, and that’s our new focus on youth design education. In October we launched We Design: People. Practice. Progress., an exhibition featuring designers of many backgrounds working in a broad range of fields. When I visited the exhibition for the opening reception in Roxbury, we had just opened the doors when three teens approached me, asking about the exhibition. I replied that We Design is for them! It’s for them to explore what’s possible with a creative career. Those three teens scooped up our rack cards detailing the different careers possible in design, then proceeded to tour the exhibit, reading stories and seeing design artifacts from professional designers that look like them.

In that one simple moment, I saw the impact of our public exhibitions and events to open people’s minds to what’s possible, especially young people wanting to use their creativity to design their own future.

In February we plan to take this work even further — we plan to launch the Neighborhood Design Project, an after school program in collaboration with Cambridge’s five community youth centers. We’ll engage over 50 teens from underserved areas in Cambridge, teaching them design thinking, creative problem solving, and placemaking principles. The teens will identify problems and opportunities in their own neighborhoods to address in teams and they’ll prototype solutions. The impact is two-fold, teens learn 21st-century skills and the community gets the brightest minds solving the toughest challenges.


I’m asking you to join us in this new effort to bring the world of design to the young people who will become the future creative leaders in Boston and beyond. If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 10 years of running this wonderful museum, it’s that we can’t succeed without your support. Please consider an end-of-year gift to support our youth design programs now and into the future — because this is just the beginning of our journey to make design accessible to young people everywhere.

Your support is tax-deductible and we have a gift for our donors to recognize your support — give $100 or more and receive a limited-edition Design is everywhere. t-shirt in a brand new color — plus we’ll thank you in the next issue of Design Museum Magazine. Thank you for giving and supporting this important work,


Sam Aquillano, Executive Director