Goldstein Museum of Design History

Goldstein Museum of Design is named in honor of two sisters who changed the way Americans value design. Harriet and Vetta Goldstein taught Related Arts in the School of Home Economics at the University of Minnesota from 1910 until 1949, introducing students to the new idea of design harmony and the process of formal analysis to solve design problems.

As instructors, they were thoughtful and encouraging, inspiring students with their passion for supporting good design. Their leadership helped shape design education at the University for decades and set the direction for the College of Design.

The Goldstein sisters studied with pioneering educator Frank Parsons at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts (now the Parsons School of Design). Parsons had begun a series of groundbreaking programs in fashion, interior design, and graphic design that combined art concepts with industrial design. The Goldstein sisters adapted Parsons’ modern concept of design to their teaching at the University and to their textbook Art in Every day Life (1925, four editions,11 reprintings).

From the late 1920s through the 1950s, Art in Every day Life was used in classes at colleges and universities across the country, helping countless students gain the ability to recognize and create design harmony in their lives. By the 1930s, so many students had learned how to examine design problems that even major industrial designers noticed women demanding better-designed products.

With the expansion of McNeal Hall in 1976, the Goldstein Gallery (now the Goldstein Museum of Design) was dedicated as a tribute to Harriet and Vetta Goldstein. Their leadership helped shape design education across the country and set the direction for the College of Design. Their legacy lives on in the growing collection of design objects and the many exhibitions, past, present, and future.