© Felix Speller - The Design Museum



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 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.

skateboard exhibition

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

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 100 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.

skateboard exhibition at the design museum

© Felix Speller

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 now 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. And you’ll see how skating has both fed into, and fed off, other movements like punk and hip-hop through the dozens of other skate-related objects on show, including wheels and tucks, magazines, safety equipment, VHS tapes, DVDs and more.

Finally, the museum’s set up a skate ramp within the exhibition itself. You can book in for a two-hour sesh, or just enjoy a little live action to bring the exhibits to life.

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


NOTE: Skateboard is at the Design Museum until 2nd June 2024. Tickets cost £16 and you can book 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