Thirty years after the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation was founded to honor industry leaders, the nonprofit is getting its first curator and historian to uphold its mission of collecting and preserving the history of the design industry. In the new role, Kyle Hughes, PhD, says his first priority is to make the collection as accessible to the public as possible. “I’m also hoping in the short-term to lay the groundwork for expanding our collection of home furnishings memorabilia with the help of industry partners, and to begin digitizing the many important documents, pictures [and] drawings that we have, many of which are unique,” he shares.
Hughes also hopes to move the Hall of Fame to a larger space in High Point, North Carolina—the foundation’s headquarters—with updated storage and preservation facilities. It’s a challenge the scholar (and High Point native) welcomes. “It’s an ambitious project with a long future ahead of it, and I think it will really help to bring a fascinating part of American history to wider public attention,” says Hughes. “Our displays and our meeting space will be inspirational and worthy of our imaginative industry.”
The Hall of Fame is the only institution that embraces all roles of the industry, with past inductees including designers of space, products, fabrics and just about every other realm under the design umbrella. Hughes is hoping to find a larger, updated location to house the foundation—a space that will welcome not only the design community, but everyone with an interest in design.
“Our eventual home will hopefully have capacity for a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions, and will be a place for public events, launches and so on year round,” he explains. “We would like to have a home with plenty of space for state-of-the-art storage, preservation and digitization equipment, but we’re also keen to make our eventual new home the kind of place that people will want to spend plenty of time in, and come back to.”