Installation view of the exhibition, "Useful Household Objects Under $5.00" September 28, 1938–October 28, 1938. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. IN80.1. Photograph by Soichi Sunami.

Useful Household Objects under $5.00

MoMA September 28–October 28, 1938
  • The Museum of Modern Art

Well-designed, affordable household items such as orange juicers, ashtrays, venetian blinds, and other "ordinary" consumer products were given pride of place in 1938 with the exhibition Useful Household Objects under $5.00. Celebrating the quality and precision of machine production, the exhibition featured approximately 100 commercially available, utilitarian objects, demonstrating, according to the press release, that “it is possible to purchase everyday articles of excellent design at reasonable prices.” Useful Household Objects was also conceived to promote MoMA’s traveling exhibitions: it was arranged primarily for the purpose of touring, and was shown in seven additional venues around the country. The exhibition was so popular that it continued as an annual series for nine years—although by 1947, the top price had increased to $100.

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