Caleb J. Adams



Skateboard | The Design Museum Documents the History of the Skateboard

Since its first boom period in the 1950s, skateboarding has really kicked off…

And to acknowledge this, The Design Museum’s major upcoming autumn exhibition, simply titled ‘Skateboard’, is paying homage to how the boards – as objects of design – have grown out of their homemade-in-the-garage early days to high-tech performance models you get today, to keep the pace with what’s become a multibillion dollar industry and now a legitimate, properly-recognised sport.

Compared to 50 years ago, the boards of today look a little different. Once upon a time they were fixed up with slabs of wood and attached with wheels from roller derby skates, perfect for simply cruising the streets with your mates, but as with most things, they’ve evolved over time – something you’ll see here with over 90 boards on display, both rare and unique, including Tony Hawk’s first ever professional model and the Logan Earth Ski that Laura Thornhill used in the 1970s (the first ever women’s professional model), plus boards from other big influential names like Rodney Mullen and Mark Gonzales. Half of the display has actually been loaned from California’s Skateboarding Hall of Fame Museum, which is the world’s first museum to devote itself entirely to skateboarding.

Laura Thornhill, backside kick turn Torrance, 1977. Photograph by Jim Goodrich

And it’s not just the boards on their own that have seen an evolution; skateboard culture as a whole has evolved, with the global community said to reach 85 million, more skateparks than ever, full-on dedicated stores cropping up and people generally starting to take it seriously as, well, a serious sport – like its inclusion in the Olympic Games, which the exhibition will focus on with Paris only a year away.

Overall, it’s shaping up to be a fruitful experience for skaters and non-skaters alike. There’s also going to be hundreds of other skate-related objects on show, including wheels and tucks, magazines, safety equipment, VHS tapes, DVDs and more.

Don’t go, and you’ll be missing a trick…


NOTE: Skateboard opens at the Design Museum on the 20th October 2023. Tickets cost £16 and you can already book them on the website, right here.

The Design Museum | 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG

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The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, Kensington, W8 6AG
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