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Who were the Goldstein sisters?
Harriet and Vetta Goldstein were born in Michigan to Polish immigrant parents and taught at the University of Minnesota from the 1910s through the 1940s. Their 1925 book Art in Everyday Life, was based in the Arts and Crafts philosophy and stressed the importance of good design to the quality of life. This new way of bringing harmony to personal life was transformative to their students.
Believing in the importance of object-centered learning, the sisters brought examples of good design to their classrooms. These included ceramics by the Handicraft Guild of Minneapolis, Tiffany metalwork, Rookwood pottery, Pueblo pottery, and Navajo rugs and blankets.
How did GMD begin?
After the sisters retired, their influence continued to be acknowledged by former students. With the 1976 expansion of McNeal Hall, some of these alumni, with department head Gertrude Esteros and dean Keith McFarland, developed the Goldstein Gallery, later the Goldstein Museum of Design. The sisters’ collection plus donations from other faculty and alumni became the core of the new gallery’s collection.
An important gift in 1978 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter of The Fashion Group International formed the foundation of GMD’s premier designer fashion collection, now containing the work of internationally prominent designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Elsa Schiaparelli, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Issey Miyake, Norman Norrell, and Isaac Mizrahi.
In 1978, Margot Siegel founded the Friends of the Goldstein, to provide volunteers, financial support, and publicity. The Friends are now GMD’s membership. In 2005, with the formation of the College of Design, GMD gained responsibility for the exhibition program in Rapson Hall’s HGA Gallery in addition to the programs in McNeal Hall.
Harriet and Vetta Goldstein