The Museum currently stewards a growing collection of close to 1,300 objects of modern and contemporary craft from 1937 to the present. Largely made up of mid-century ceramics, the collection also includes works in clay, fiber, glass, metal and wood from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. In 2008, the Museum published Unpacking the Collection: Selections from the Museum of Contemporary Craft, the first publication to document the Museum’s collection and its connections to the American Craft Movement and dramatic changes in artistic practice over the past 70 years. In 2011, the exhibition and publication 75 Gifts for 75 Years honored the legacy of the Museum while adding 75 additional gifts to the collection. The Museum currently organizes two exhibitions drawn from or connecting to the collection each year. Exhibitions are curated by the Museum Curator, guest curators or organized as art installations in collaboration with artists, craftspeople and designers around questions or themes that connect the collection with broader cultural questions. In addition to using works in the collection, exhibitions about the collection often include works from private collections and public institutions to provide additional context.


The Museum’s archives include thousands of slides, photographs, correspondence, board minutes, exhibition posters, print materials and other ephemera that supports the behind-the-scenes aspects of Museum work. The archive provides insight into shifts in exhibition practices, the display of craft, graphic design history, and economic and lifestyle shifts over the Museum’s seven-decade history. Ongoing research by curatorial staff and interns connects the archives to the public through inclusion in exhibitions, and support for researchers investigating such areas as craft history or the history of visual arts in the Pacific Northwest.

Researchers, writers and graduate students interested in learning more about the collection or archive may contact the curatorial department at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Collection Exhibitions

Extra Credit: Students Mine the Collection
January 31, 2015 – July 11, 2015

Portland Collects: British Ceramics
February 28, 2014 – January 3, 2015

Quality is Contagious: John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works
August 16, 2013 – February 8, 2014

Reflecting on Erik Gronborg: Selections by Jeffry Mitchell
August 7, 2012 – February 16, 2013

Northwest Modern: Revisiting the Annual Ceramic Exhibitions of 1950–64
August 18, 2011 – February 25, 2012

75 Gifts for 75 Years
July 28, 2011 – February 25, 2012
Special Publication: 75 Gifts for 75 Years

Era Messages: Selections by Garth Johnson
January 27, 2011 – July 09, 2011

Collateral Matters: Selections by Kate Bingaman-Burt and Clifton Burt
August 26, 2010 – January 8, 2011

Land Art: David Shaner
March 10, 2010 – August 07, 2010

The Academy is Full of Craft
July 28 – February 20, 2010

Toshiko Takaezu: Recent Gifts
February 5 – July 11, 2009

The Ceramics of Gertrud and Otto Natzler
August 02, 2008 – January 25, 2009

Generations: Ken Shores
April 10, 2008–July 23, 2008

The Living Room
October 11, 2007–March 23, 2008