Museum of California Design

The Museum of California Design is dedicated to exhibiting and documenting California’s extraordinary commercial design history: from cups to cars, from sideboards to surfboards, made of every conceivable material. We are the only museum dedicated exclusively to this purpose and, being a museum without walls, we achieve our goals through traveling exhibitions and public programming that further the understanding of how design affects the way we live.

Design is the art of the everyday, i.e. the form and function of commercial objects made for home, commerce, communications, and industry. Our exhibitions and educational programs demonstrate how California's innovative spirit has reflected, and often led, America's cultural and economic development, how it has shaped the way we have lived and how its influence continues to affect us. We devote particular attention to how design is created and to those who create it.

We are a museum without walls, but we mount innovative exhibitions in other venues including "California Pottery: From Missions to Modernism" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "California's Designing Women 1896-1986" at the Autry Museum and "Plastics from Paradise: California Modernizes the American Lifestyle" at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

In addition to our exhibitions and public programs we honor individuals and manufacturers with our Henry Award for outstanding contributions to design in California. The Museum also houses an archive of catalogs, photographs, books, working drawings and audio recordings that illustrate the creation, production and distribution processes that are essential aspects of developing the well-designed products we value in our daily lives.

Other California museums have the word “design” in their names but, unlike the Museum of California Design, their emphasis is either on art or architecture. We alone have the sole mission of honoring design created in California.

We hope that you will help us to continue to fulfill these goals.



Entrance to California's Designing Women 1896-1986, a Museum of California Design Exhibition at the Autry Museum, Los Angeles, August 10, 2012-January 6, 2013. Photo by Steve Aldana.

Partial view of California's Designing Women 1896-1986, a Museum of California Design Exhibition at the Autry Museum, Los Angeles, August 10, 2012-January 6, 2013. Photo by Steve Aldana.








Who We Are

Bill Stern
The Museum's executive director Bill Stern, is also an author, curator and lecturer. Stern's exhibitions for the Museum include California Pottery: From Missions to Modernism at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Autry Museum in Los Angeles; Starring William Haines at the Pacific Design Center and the Palm Springs Convention Center; California’s Designing Women 1896-1986 at the Autry National Center; Mid-Century Mandarin: The Clay Canvases of Tyrus Yu Wong at Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles; Frank Gehry: 40 Years of Product Design 1972 to 2015 at JFChen@1135. and Plastics from Paradise: California Modernizes the American Lifestyle at Palm Springs Modernism 2017. He was Consulting Curator for LACMA’s exhibition California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way.

Among Stern’s many publications are the books California Pottery: From Missions to Modernism and California’s Designing Women 1896-1986 and the essays “Edith Heath: Artist of the Everyday,” in Heath Ceramics: The Complexity of Simplicity, and “War and Peace: Unexpected Dividends” in the catalog of LACMA’s California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way.

He has lectured on California's contribution to American commercial design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the University of Southern California, the Japanese American National Museum, the Orange County Museum of Art, the Symposium of the American Ceramics Circle, the Getty Center, and elsewhere.

Michael Michaud


Jennifer Jaffe
John Jaffe
Bill Stern
Sheila Tepper

Thomas E. Backer, PhD
H. Kirk Brown III
Jack Chipman
Stanlee R. Gatti
Clare Graham
Edgar Hirst
Diane Keaton
Henry C. Keck
Michael Maloney
Daniel Ostroff
Charles Rosenberg
Judie Gregg Rosenman
Patricia Stich
Jill A. Wiltse

Zak Clark, Charles Rosenberg, Bill Stern

Web site logo by Laura Lovett

Design Marrin, Pasadena, California

Beverly Alison
Clare Graham
Sheila Tepper
Alan Jaffe (1945-2010)

David Gabel

Our Benefactors

$50,000 +
Super-Max Corporation

Nathan Cummings Foundation
Dr. Andrew and Deborah Frank
Brian and Edith Heath Foundation
Alan and Nora Jaffe
John and Jennifer Jaffe
Palm Springs Modernism Week
Bill Stern

Beverly Alison
Stephen Bothwell
H. Kirk Brown III and Jill A. Wiltse
John Caldwell
Jacques Caussin
Richard Cipra
Lorca Cohen
Cresa Partners
deasey/penner & partners
Fat Chance
Richard and Catherine Frinier
Judith Hendler
Jack and Ruth Hirsch
Edgar Hirst
Max and Damon Lawrence
Alvin Lee
Hal Meltzer
Off The Wall
Pacific Union Realty
Judie Gregg Rosenman
Beverly Schnur
Abby Sher
Peggy Sirota
Barbara Spark
Michael Stern
Sheila Tepper
Vessel USA

Fran and Jules Belkin
California Living/Andy Hackman
Mary Coquillard
Frank Gargani, Aaroe Architectural
Hilary and James McQuaid
Resnick Family Foundation, Inc.
Kene Rosa
June Sakata
Steve and Martha Sanford
John and Maria Wakelin
Cristi Walden
Jim Watterson
Laura and Larry Worchel

American Folk Art Society
Judith Auberjonois
Thomas E. Backer, PhD.
Evelyn Bauer
Barbara Bestor
John L. Boskovich
John Caldwell
George and Marge Chelini
Arline Fisch
Barbara Fitzsimmons
Polly Frost
Dane Henas
Carilyn J. Howell
Kate Kaplan
Javad Kheramandan
Myron Laskin
Leland Lee
Louise Lieberman
John Moses
Daniel Munoz
Newsweek Magazine
Mary Philips
Kit Rachlis
Philip Shurley
Evely Shlensky
Arlene Zeichner

Denny Burt
Don Coleman
Dean Hansell
Dan Hazeltine
Ron Hillman/John Simon Taylor
Jack and Ruth Hirsch
The Jaffe Family Knoll, Inc.
Sandra James
Charles Hollis Jones
Gary Kent
Harrison and Marguerite McIntosh
Hal Meltzer
MGM Press
Michael Gregg Michaud
Anne Louise Mosino
Chris Nichols
Daniel Ostroff
Michael Pratt
Mark Resnick
Kene Rosa
Gloria Samario
Bill Stern
Patricia Stich
Lynn Tackett
Tyrus Wong

Jerome Ackerman
Laura Ackerman-Shaw
Antiques & Objects
Apolis Global
Arts District Printing at Hammer & Spear
Juan F. Bastos
JF Chen@1135
The Window/  Lorca Cohen
John L. Boskovich in Memory of
John S. Boskovich
Jacques Caussin
Jack Chipman
Couturier Gallery
Cecilia Dan
Patrick Day and Paul Legvold
Display Tech Exhibits
Dolphin Promotions
Steven Ehrlich and Nancy Griffin
Fat Chance/Jeff Schuerholz
Dr. Andrew and Deborah Frank
The Grateful Palate
Alan Harris and Marcella Ruble
Matteo Home
Susan and G. Ray Hawkins
Heath Ceramics
Alan and Nora Jaffe
John Kelly Chocolates
Charles Hollis Jones
James Kendall
Bette and Howard Krom
Dean Leather
Phillip Lim
L A Moderne
Nancy Moure
Max and Damon Lawrence
Mark Jager Antiques
MGM Bookkeeping Co.
Hal Meltzer
Michael Gregg Michaud
Modern One/Ben Storck
Native Tile
Daniel Ostroff
Pacific Design Center
Petals by David
Reform Gallery
Kene Rosa
Judie Gregg Rosenman
Allen and Susan Russak
Peter Shire
Adam Silverman
Doug Stanton
Bill Stern
Studio Cue
Margaret Stern
Patricia Stich
Gary and Carmen Stiffelman
Ariel Swartley
Sheila Tepper
3 Vodka
Trader Joe's
Vessel U.S.A. John Van Hamersveld
Wyborowa Vodka
Cristi Walden
Zina Sterling Silver

Exhibition Lenders and Donors

We appreciate the generosity of those individuals and museums that have lent or donated objects to our exhibitions:

 COLLECTING CALIFORNIA DESIGN, at Palm Springs Convention Center, February 15-18, 2019

Gregg Fleishman
Charles Hollis Jones
Simple Human
Bill Stern
John Van Hamersveld
Robert Wilhite


The Atomic Bazaar
Margaret Bach
Heller, Inc.
Judith Hendler
Charles Hollis Jones
John Kishel
Jim Lattin
Amalia and Ravi Sawnhey
Barbara Spark
Bill Stern
Surfing Heritage & Culture Center
Keith York

 FRANK GEHRY: 40 YEARS OF PRODUCT DESIGN 1972 TO 2012, at JF Chen @ 1135, October 25, 2015 – November 7, 2015

JF Chen
Gemini G.E.L.
Elizabeth Kellen
David Limburger
Museum of California Design (gift of Heller)
Museum of California Design (gift of Knoll, Inc.)
Peter Ramirez
Reform Gallery
Barbara Spark
Bill Stern

 CALIFORNIA’S DESIGNING WOMEN 1896-1986Autry National Center, Los Angeles, August 10 2012 - January 6, 2013

Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman
Steve Aldana
Annex Galleries
Margaret Bach
John and Joanne Barrett
Dierdre and Steve Bolm
Steve Cabella
Joel Chen
Dr. Bruce Chernof and Dr. Dan Garcia
Michal Connor
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Arline Fisch
Dr. Andrew and Deborah Frank
Esther Ginsberg
Scott and Lauren Goldstein
Liz Graham
April Greiman
Bob Breen and Clare Graham
Eric Haeberli
Judith Hendler
Jaffe Family
Gere Kavanaugh
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Peter Loughrey
Mattel Inc.
Hilary and James McQuaide
Michael Gregg Michaud
Joseph Michael Morsman
Mingei International Museum
Museum of Arts and Design
Gerard O’Brian, Reform Gallery
Mark Stuart Ong
Otis College of Art and Design
Cher Pendarvis
Mark and Maura Resnick
Susan and Michael Rich
Steve Roden
Charles Rosenberg
San Diego History Center
Thomas Royal and Louis Cantabrana
Steve Soukup
Bill Stern
Deborah Sussman
Sheila Tepper
UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections

A SURVEY OF EAMES DESIGN FROM A SPLINT TO A CHAISE, Entenza House, Pacific Palisades, October 3, 2010

Joel Chen, JF Chen
Gary and Carmen Stiffelman

JEROME AND EVELYN ACKERMAN: DESIGNS FOR MODERN LIVING, Palm Springs Convention Center, February 13-15, 2009

Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman
Jeff Schuerholz
Fat Chance
Bill Stern

 THE CLASSIC MODERNISM OF ARCHITECTURAL POTTERY, Palm Springs Convention Center February 16 – 18, 2007

Dean Crane
Dr. Andrew and Deborah Frank
Reform Galery
Bill Hertel
Alan and Nora Jaffe
Stephen and Sara Sessa
David Skelley
Bill Stern

 MID-CENTURY MANDARIN: THE CLAY CANVASES OF TYRUS YU WONG, Craft and Folk Art Museum, July 14 - October 31, 2004

Irene Poon Andersen
Bob Breen/Clare Graham
John Catlin
Bruce Chernof/Dan Garcia
Jack Chipman
Gary Keith
Leslee Leong
Leyla Cambel Leos
Museum of California Design
Greg Nestor
Kay Nishimto
Mark Peterson
Richard See
Son Vo
John and Maria Wakelin
Tyrus Wong

 CALIFORNIA POTTERY: FROM MISSIONS TO MODERNISM, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 20 – October 14, 2001
Autry Museum, July 4, 2003 – January 20, 2004

Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman
Steven Beals
Charles R. Bove
Carmen Brady/Pierre Allaud
Bob Breen/Clare Graham
Susie Tompkins Buell
Steve Cabella
Dean Crane
Dan Craver
Jack Chipman
Riley Doty
Jim Drobka
Jimm Edgar
Deleen Enge
Dan Fast
Dolores Fisher
Dr. Andrew Frank
Stanlee R. Gatti
Doug Hamilton
Heath Ceramics
Dan Huffman
Robert Hutchins
Steve Johnson
Norman Karlson
Gary Keith
Jerry Kunz
Max Lawrence
Petra Lopez Lefeber
Malcolm Leland
Armando Lopez
Tim Lukaszewski/Paul Preston
Margueritte and Harrison McIntosh
James Marrin
Museum Of California Design
Naomi's of San Francisco
National Park Service via
The Presidio Trust
Oakland Museum of California
Daniel Ostroff
Malinda Pretz
Roger Renick
Walter Schirra
June Scoggins
Steve Soukup
Bill Stern
Steve Temme
Tile Heritage Foundation
Li Vaughn
Mark Wadlinger
Cristi Walden
Barbara Willis
Mark Wiskow / Susan Strommer