About the Center
The Center for Design and Material Culture (CDMC) is one of five Centers of Excellence within UW-Madison’s School of Human Ecology (SoHE) that promotes human-centered scholarship. In partnership with SoHE’s Design Studies Department the CDMC serves diverse communities of scholars who study, practice, and experience material culture and design as complex relationships between humans and the material world, today and in the past.
The Center for Design and Material Culture promotes learning, exploration, outreach, and community engagement related to design and material culture through interdisciplinary and human-centered scholarship and through stewardship and administration of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and Ruth Davis Design Gallery along with the Center’s other educational assets.
The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection is a teaching collections that comprises 13,000 artifacts. The Collection advances the understanding of cultures and their history through engagement with textiles for the creative, technical and educational benefit of scholars from the university and beyond. The Ruth Davis Design Gallery organizes exhibitions and public programs that strive to educate and engage diverse audiences in design within its historical and cultural contexts. All Center events and exhibitions are funded entirely by competitive grants and private philanthropy.
We seek UW-Madison faculty, staff, and graduate student colleagues, as well as off-campus community members, with scholarly, professional, or personal interests in design and material culture. We hope our affiliates will contribute to, participate in, and benefit from our Center programs and join us in supporting the Wisconsin Idea by promoting design and object-centered learning opportunities. See more about affiliation.
News and Events
Join the email list to get notices about upcoming events and exhibitions. Get the most up-to-date information and interesting items about design and textiles by liking the Ruth Davis Design Gallery page on Facebook.
All Center for Design and Material Culture events and exhibitions are funded entirely by competitive grants and private donations. Help us keep our programs free and accessible to the public through a gift through the the University of Wisconsin Foundation.
Sherry Harlacher, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Design and Material Culture
Pleasant Rowland Distinguished Director of Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection
1235D Nancy Nicholas Hall