The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

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.

Installation views

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.