event · Through March 8

Designs for Different Futures

The role of designers in shaping how we think about the future is the subject of a major exhibition that will premiere at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this fall. Designs for Different Futures brings together some 80 works that address the challenges and opportunities that humans may encounter in the years, decades, and centuries ahead. Among the questions today’s designers seek to answer are: What role can technology play in augmenting or replacing a broad range of human activities? Can intimacy be maintained at a distance? How can we negotiate privacy in a world in which the sharing and use of personal information has blurred traditional boundaries? How might we use design to help heal or transform ourselves, bodily and psychologically? How will we feed an ever-growing population? 

While no one can precisely predict the shape of things to come, the works in the exhibition are firmly fixed on the future, providing design solutions for a number of speculative scenarios. In some instances, these proposals are borne of a sense of anxiety, and in others of a sense of excitement over the possibilities that can be created through the use of innovative materials, new technologies, and, most importantly, fresh ideas.

Futures Therapy Lab

A space for conversation, critique, and creativity for those considering the ideas set forth in the exhibition. In addition to daily drop-in activities, the Lab will host weekly events. Open to visitors of all ages and free with museum admission. 

Drop-in Daily Activities

Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Wednesday & Friday, 10:00 a.m.–8:45 p.m.
Thinking about possible futures is both exhilarating and anxiety-making. Work it out through art making, reading, and reflection. 

Artists in the Lab 

Wednesdays, 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Artists and designers share their work through talks, demonstrations, and workshops. 

The Designer Is In 

Thursdays (except Thanksgiving) & Saturdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
One-on-one sessions with designers offer new perspectives on your everyday life. 

Sci-Fi Sundays

Sundays (except first Sunday of the month), 2:00–3:00 p.m.
Drop-in readings that explore narratives of the future.


Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Philadelphia, PA 19130 US