These 9 Design Museums Are the Best in the World | Architectural Digest

Although museums have been around for centuries, there weren’t many focused entirely on design. But luckily for us, times have changed. For design lovers, starting at the end of the 21st century, institutions have begun to specifically focus on design. And although many museums are dedicated to the industry, there are some that stand above the rest. As such, we’ve put together this list of 10 fantastic design museums to add to your must-visit list.

Photo: Alla Tsyganova/Getty

The Design Museum


Founded as an independent institution in 1989 by designer and restaurateur Terence Conran, the Design Museum in London has positioned itself as the world’s leading museum of 20th- and 21st- century design, architecture, and fashion. The museum was first housed in a converted 1940s banana warehouse, but in 2016 it moved into the vacant Commonwealth Institute building where it currently resides. 

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

New York City

Located a few steps from Central Park, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is one of the most important museums in the United States dedicated to the history of design. Plus, it’s the only museum in the country dedicated exclusively to modern and historical design. Founded by the Hewitt sisters, a pair of American art advocates, as the Cooper Union Museum for the Decorative Arts, it currently has an impressive permanent collection of over 200,000 objects spanning more than 30 centuries of history.