Design Museum Boston is giving the city a creative way to wake up. As one of the museum’s most successful events, Design Museum Mornings bring local movers and shakers together over breakfast once every month for an atypical Friday morning.
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Design Museum Boston, Sam Aquillano started the morning events in 2010 as a more accessible opportunity for the community to get involved with the museum.
“We were thinking about the museum, about when people really have time to engage,” he said. He and his team decided that events, which worked around a typical workday schedule, would be the most accommodating. That’s when they decided that a before-work, exhibit-breakfast combo would be their route. “That is how Design Museum Mornings were born,” he said.
For the past two years, Aquillano and Design Museum Boston had worked with Creative Mornings, a global creative breakfast lecture series, to organize their events. This year, however, Design Museum Mornings are now completely organized by the museum and businesses in the greater Boston area. Each event includes a local speaker, free breakfast, and space for any Bostonian who wants to participate, as the events are free and open to the public.
While the museum exhibits traditionally focus on design, the speakers that Design Museum Mornings have hosted range from CEOs of local media companies to representatives from the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center. “We are always trying to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening in the design world and in the Boston area,” Aquillano said. Each presentation consists of a 20- to 30-minute talk followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion, all of which is finished by 10 a.m. to accommodate those who have to head to work.
Along with times accommodating the working public, Design Museum Mornings are accessible to those all over the city as they are held in a different, Boston-area space each month. “[Design Museum Mornings] are one of the most popular of our event series because they are so easy for the public to engage with,” said Aquillano.
This idea of accessibility in Design Museum Mornings is rooted in Design Museum Boston’s concept as a distributed museum, as it holds no permanent address but is made up of various temporary exhibits located across the city.
Aquillano started the museum in 2010 hoping only to “bring joy to people through design.” What began as a small nonprofit became an innovative means of presenting the public with information, as Aquillano was inspired by the success of pop-up retail. He was able to find similar success through the use of public retail space to house his exhibits, saying, “design is all around us, so the museum should be all around us.”
Now complete with a full staff and many museum members, Aquillano and Design Museum Boston are still able to find success with what Aquillano called a “respectively opportunistic” method, so much so that the Design Museum Foundation has been able to start a second branch in Portland, Ore. Much of the museum’s success stems from support of the surrounding community that frequently sponsors the museum’s events or hosts exhibits.
The success seen in both Design Museum Boston and Design Museum Mornings have allowed the Design Museum Foundation to look not only to Portland, but also to other U.S. metropolitan centers, as it hopes to bring the concept to the Bay Area or Chicago. As a result, Sam Aquillano and his team hope to further the organization’s vision and “educate the world on the role of design in our lives.”