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Material Tales: The Life of Things

Material Tales: The Life of Things Claimed

An exploration of the surprising life of materials and their future

Exhibition Overview

Material Tales: The Life of Things

Exhibition Type
Nature, Popular Culture, Science and Technology
Area Size
200 to 500 sqm
Designed For
Museums and Galleries
Hiring Fee

For a 3-month rental excl. transport, installation, insurance:

This hiring fee is set for the following exhibition format:
See all available package options
Core Experience
Immersive digital experience
Hands-on activities
Original collection


Credits / Image Information

Image 1; Elissa Brunato, Bio Iridescent Sequin Image 2; Elissa Brunato, Bio Iridescent Sequin Image 3; Designers in Residence 2019, photograph by Felix Speller Image 4; TEM image of CADAM kaolinite, Ian Wilson, image courtesy of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and The Clay Minerals Society Image 5; Savoy vase, Alvar Aalto, 1936, the Design Museum Collection Image 6; Norica paper clips, Design Museum Collection Image 7; Alan Crivellaro, hardwood sample Image 8; 9 MODIS images show shrinking of the Aral Sea 2000-2013, NASA Image 9; victor-garcia-JcHguIBclrc-unsplash Image 10; Ermal Fraze ring pull drinks can, 1969, Design Museum Collection



Materials Tales takes visitors on a poetic journey through the world of materials, encouraging greater knowledge and care for our material world through a unique storytelling experience.As we face the realities of the Earth’s limited resources, designers and users alike are seeking greater clarity around how objects are made, and at what material cost. What materials go into the objects that define our day to day lives? And how might we learn to make better use of these materials in future?Material Tales is a uniquely poetic exploration of the world of materials, taking visitors on a journey through the origins, uses, and evolution of matter. From their microscopic structure through to the global impact of their use and exploitation, materials are revealed in all of their complexities as they share the incredible stories of their emotional, technical and political lives.Featuring highlights from the Design Museum Collection, as well as works by leading contemporary designers and a wealth of contextual material, Material Tales aims to provide greater material literacy for visitors of all ages. The exhibition is paired with a full educational pack including lesson plans and a family activity trail.There is scope for host institutions to complement the exhibition with objects from their own collection, drawing out local stories and showcasing historical material through a contemporary lens. This applies to institutions with design and applied arts collections, but also to science, technology, anthropological and general encyclopaedic museums.

VR and App Content


Decorative objects
Technical objects

General Information

Available Package Options
Collection and interpretation

Extra Info

Curatorial excellence
Treasure collection
Immersive experience
Exhibition Add-Ons
Engagement programme support
Education kit
Media kit
Tailored trail kit (eg kids trail)
Exhibition tour kit
Catalogue / book

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Material Tales: The Life of Things

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