Materials Matter: Selections from the George R. Kravis II Collection
This exhibition looks at the technical aspects of modern manufacturing—the materials and technology behind the developments in design over the past century—through objects from the museum’s George R. Kravis II Collection. Examples range from the cast iron at the center of the Industrial Revolution to the microchip that triggered the Digital Revolution.
Wood, glass, clay, and metals, including iron and bronze, dating back to prehistory enjoy a continued presence as products of new machine technologies as well traditional handcrafting. Between the two revolutions, the technology for lower-cost, mass-produced steel and the development of two new materials, aluminum and plastics, mark major milestones. Along with their applications, this exhibition examines the role of historical turning points in generating materials and technologies, particularly the two world wars.
Materials Matter also explores the impact of materials usage on the environment. The exhibition assesses the life cycles of selected materials, from acquiring raw materials to considering obsolescence and final disposal.