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In each edition of our zine, we dive into the vibrant world of design, capturing the essence of Detroit's rich history and innovative spirit of our programming and exhibitions. Our stories are more than just words on a page; they are a testament to the resilience, creativity, and determination that define our community.

Storytelling in Each Zine

  1. Celebrating Detroit's Legacy: We begin each zine with a tribute to Detroit's illustrious past, highlighting the key moments and figures that have shaped the city's design landscape. From the golden age of the automotive industry to the rise of midcentury modern design, we honor the pioneers who paved the way especially by honoring Black designers, engineers, inventors and other fields of study related to the design industry. MM-O-DD has an extensive artists outreach including many with intense talent who have embrace the opportunity for the first time to publically show. We are established as an accessible place for mid-level and high-end collectors.

  2. Innovative Programs and Exhibitions: Our zine features in-depth looks at MM-O-DD's latest programs, exhibitions and the open platform discussions-in-the-round conversational opportunities of experts and curious individuals. We showcase the innovative ways we bring design to life through hands-on workshops, interactive exhibits, and community-driven projects. Each story highlights the impact of our work on participants, fostering a love for design and encouraging creative problem-solving.

  3. Community Collaborations: We believe in the power of collaboration. Our zine regularly features stories about our partnerships with local schools, artists, designers, and organizations. These collaborations bring fresh perspectives and new opportunities to our community, enriching the design landscape of Detroit.

  4. Spotlight on S.T.E.A.M.E.D.: A core element of our mission is integrating science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics, edutainment, and design (S.T.E.A.M.E.D.) into our programming. Each zine includes a dedicated section that explores the intersections of these disciplines, inspiring readers to see the world through a multidisciplinary lens.

  5. Voices from the Community: We are proud to amplify the voices of our community members. Our zine features interviews, personal stories, and reflections from participants, volunteers, and partners. These stories highlight the transformative power of design education and the positive changes it brings to individuals and the community.

  6. Looking Ahead: Finally, we share our vision for the future. Each zine includes updates on upcoming projects, new initiatives, and our strategic goals. We invite our readers to join us on our journey, contributing their ideas, energy, and passion to help us shape the future of design in Detroit.

Through our zine, we aim to inspire, educate, and connect. We believe that storytelling is a powerful tool for change, and we are committed to using our platform to promote a more inclusive and innovative design industry. Thank you for being part of our community and for supporting MM-O-DD's mission to enrich lives through design.

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Our Story

Metropolitan Museum of Design Detroit was a spark of an idea by founder Leslie Ann Pilling in grade-school after she read a book, 

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler which is a novel by E. L. Konigsburg. The book follows siblings Claudia and Jamie Kincaid as they run away from home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was published by Atheneum in 1967, the second book published from two manuscripts the new writer had submitted to editor Jean E. Karl.[3] From the Mixed-Up Files won the annual Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1968.[4]


The prologue is a letter from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, addressed "To my lawyer, Saxonberg", accompanied by a drawing of her writing at her office desk. It serves as the cover letter for the 162-page narrative, and provides background for changes to her last will and testament.

Twelve-year-old Claudia Kincaid decides to run away from her home in Greenwich, Connecticut because she thinks that her parents do not appreciate her. She takes refuge in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York City with her brother Jamie. She chooses Jamie as her companion partly because he has saved all his money. With the help of an unused adult train fare card that she found in a wastebasket, Claudia finds a way to get to the museum for free using the commuter train and a very long walk.

Early chapters depict Claudia and Jamie settling in at the Met: hiding in the restroom at closing time, as security staff check to see that all the patrons have departed; blending in with school groups on tour; bathing in the fountain; using "wishing coins" for money; and sleeping in Irwin Untermyer's antique bed.

A new exhibit draws sensational crowds and fascinates the children: the marble statue of an angel, the sculptor unknown but suspected to be Michelangelo. It was purchased at auction, for only a few hundred dollars, from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, a collector who recently closed her showcase Manhattan residence. The children research it on site and at the Donnell Library, and give their conclusion to the museum staff anonymously.

After learning that they have been naïve, the children spend the last of their money on travel to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler's home in Connecticut. She recognizes them as runaways but sets them briefly to the task of researching the angel from files in her long bank of cabinets. Despite the idiosyncratic organization of her files, they discover the angel's secret—Mrs. Frankweiler has purposefully "given away" a virtually priceless Michelangelo to the Met. In exchange for a full account of their adventure, she will leave the crucial file to them in her will, and send them home in her Rolls-Royce.

Claudia learns her deep motive for persisting in the crazy search: she wanted a secret of her own to treasure and keep. Mrs. Frankweiler may get "grandchildren" who delight her. Her lawyer (who is revealed to be the children's maternal grandfather) gets a luncheon date at the Met, to revise her will.

Pilling identified with Claudia especially the recognized the hutspa and determination and love for research and respect of museums.


The step to organize MM-O-DD was to first test the interest of the public to see if there was an interest in Design in Detroit. growing up she had aleays wanted to be a Designer butt her parent did not see this as a viable career. She had been inthralled with her friends mom with the use of matching all patterned violet wallpapers and beddings etc. The friends living room was out-of-bounds but was all white.  this was an extrax ordinary visually specttaquar site for Pilling. Her own home filled with hand-me-downs, salvationaion army aquistions and stacks and stacks of balanced piles of papers with apaquarious crumbled sacks of chards of pottery and glass sent from random museums and universities for her father to identify. During the summers there were were multiple road strips to California to record oral histories of native Americans elders about their lives and cultures. 

Your Story!

We are interested in the people within the design industry whether past or present. 

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