Issuu on Google+

Think of all the objects you use in a day—each one was designed by someone who found a solution to a problem. For example, a designer would ask “What is the best way to design a chair?” The word design has many meanings: from everyday objects we use, to our plans and sketches for the things we hope to create. The museum features objects that help us understand history and are often remarkable because of how they solve design problems. Use this guide to explore useful objects from the past and present.


Find the Lady’s Writing Table in the 20th century gallery. This desk was made in Providence in 1903 by the Gorham Manufacturing Company. It was designed by William Christmas Codman and created by many skilled makers. Imagine you are sitting at this desk—what would it feel like? What kinds of things would you do at this desk?

Find the other desk in this gallery by Frank Lloyd Wright. When he designed this desk, Frank Lloyd Wright was inspired by wide open spaces. How does this desk compare to the desk designed by William Christmas Codman? Document your findings.


A functional object is an object that we use to do something. Make sketches of your explorations.

What is it? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Who made it? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ What year? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What is it? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Who made it? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ What year? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What is it? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Who made it? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What is it? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What year? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Who made it? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ What year? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Be a designer and imagine what kind of vessel would be attached to the panther handle and draw it below.

Imagine a piece of furniture that could be attached to the lion–sketch your design below:

Make your way to the Greek + Roman Galleries on the 5th floor. Find the case on the wall near the door to Pendleton House that has two metal spoons inside.

Find the panther and lion jar handle and the furniture attachment in the shape of a lion. The lion handle was probably attached to some kind of vessel or jar that has since been lost or damaged, so we are not sure what it looked like. The furniture attachment was part of a larger piece of furniture, but again, we don’t know what kind furniture.

Title of your design _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Title of your design _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What is your design made of? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What is your design made of? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What is it used for? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What is it used for? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


These silver objects served a variety of functions—from holding sugar to pouring tea. Notice the objects that have spouts for pouring. Compare two different spouts—make sketches, think about how the objects were used. Note their differences.

Head into Pendleton House, a section of the museum built in 1906 to display Charles L. Pendleton’s collection of 18th and 19th century furniture and objects. Walk up the stairs to the second floor and find the room with silver objects. Many of the pieces in this room were made right here in Providence.

Read the labe ls to find out wher e a piece was made .


Find the different benches in the museum galleries that you are welcome to sit on. You can find them in the Grand Gallery + Ancient Greek and Roman Galleries on the 5th floor, near the elevators on the 4th floor and on the 6th floor. These benches were designed so people could rest while looking at art. Which bench is your favorite and why?

Your design challenge: Choose a gallery that does not have seating and design something that your entire group can sit on at the same time and rest. Title of your design _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ What is your design made of? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ What is it used for? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Continue your explorations on the 6th floor in the special exhibition “Everyday Things: Contemporary Works from the Collection�, featuring work by artists who transform and repurpose everday objects into new creations.


Young Explorer's Guide to Art and Design