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Discover the central role of design in everyday life.

Everyday Marvels

Explore some of the humble but revolutionary objects that have changed the way we interact with and engage in the world.


Plastics made it possible to create lighter, more durable, and more affordable products.

Simple Machines

During the 1920s and 1930s industrial designers took a new approach in the look, style, and creation of commercial products.


In its many different shapes and forms, a chair is an object specifically made for seating a person.

Someone has designed most, if not all, of the objects that we use in our daily lives. These seemingly simple objects have a huge impact on the way we live and interact with the world around us. If they work well, chances are we don’t pay much attention to them, but we know fairly quickly when an object fails to meet our expectations. These everyday marvels are considered remarkable for their usefulness, affordability, and conceptual innovation.

To explore more, click on each artwork thumbnail, then click again on the larger image that appears in the box above.


Questions & Activities

  1. “Humble Masterpieces” in MoMA’s Collection

    Research some of the objects that were included in MoMA’s 2004 exhibition Humble Masterpieces, which included objects such as LEGOS, chopsticks, and bubble wrap.

    Look around your home at some of the objects that you use every day. Select one that you think is an everyday marvel and research it.

    Consider the following questions: What is it made of? What is special about it? When was it invented and by whom? What problem does it solve?

    Curate: Include your object in an exhibition and write a wall label for your object.

  2. Sweet Inspiration

    Explore the page about M&Ms candies.

    Imagine you are tasked with inventing a new candy product. What flavors would you make it? What would it look like? How would it be packaged?

    Make a poster advertising the new candy including a slogan or tagline.