University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
School of Architecture College of Design


Harriet and Vetta Goldstein

Harriet and Vetta were daughters of a Polish Jewish couple who valued the diversity of world cultures and good storytelling. 

The Goldstein sisters studied with pioneering arts educator Frank Parsons at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts (now the Parsons School of Design). Believing in the importance of the growing link between art, design, and industry, Parsons had begun a series of groundbreaking programs in fashion, interior, and graphic design, the first of their kind in the United States. Harriet and Vetta brought this new vision of design to the University of Minnesota and helped launch the Midwest as a design powerhouse.

The Goldstein sisters adapted Parsons’ modern concept of design to their teaching at the University, producing the book Art in Everyday Life (1925, four reprintings) that became the preferred textbook for design classes in colleges and universities across the country. 

They taught Related Arts in the School of Home Economics from 1910 until 1949, introducing students to the new idea of design harmony and to the process of formal analysis to solve design problems. The sisters were thoughtful and encouraging, inspiring students with their passion for supporting good design.

Harriet and Vetta’s leadership helped shape design education at the University for decades and set the direction for the College of Design. Students who studied with them and students across the country who used Art in Everyday Life in their classes gained the ability to recognize beauty in unexpected places. In 1976, with the expansion of McNeal Hall, the Goldstein Gallery (now the Goldstein Museum of Design) was dedicated as a tribute to these influential visionaries.

“Our chief concerns are to help people in these ways:
• to get pleasure from their surroundings,
• to appreciate beauty all around them,
• to have tolerance toward new ideas and other 
people’s points of view, and
• to look for what is good - not what is poor - in design.”
- Harriet and Vetta Goldstein, from a 1941 Time interview

“Play is sometimes the world’s most serious business.” 
– Vetta Goldstein

“If you are going to peel potatoes, peel potatoes.” 
– Harriet Goldstein





Harriet and Vetta Goldstein

Harriet and Vetta Goldstein

Contact Information

Goldstein Museum of Design

364 McNeal Hall,

1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-624-7434 |

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