Herman Miller, A Local Brand That Inspired the World is open June through December 2023 at the Dekker Huis Museum (37 E Main Ave.) Curated in partnership with the MillerKnoll Archives, the exhibit celebrates the Herman Miller brand’s 100th anniversary this year. To commemorate that milestone, this exhibit showcases the history of the Herman Miller brand by highlighting its design accomplishments while celebrating its impact on the local community and world at large.
“This exhibit proves that amazing cultural attractions can be offered when corporations and museums collaborate. We can celebrate ‘Herman Miller 100’ together through an exceptional exhibit on a local story with global appeal,” said Katelyn VerMerris, Director of the Zeeland Historical Society.
Many pieces from the exhibit are on loan from the MillerKnoll archives.
“When you visit, you will witness firsthand the iconic furniture and graphic designs from the Herman Miller brand, learn more about the history of the company and how it has evolved over the past 100 years, and explore the stories behind Herman Miller’s world-famous designs,” said exhibit curator, Audrey Rojo.
The Herman Miller brand was born in Zeeland, Michigan in 1923 when D. J. De Pree, president of Star Furniture, purchased the majority share in the company and renamed it after his father-in-law, Herman Miller. De Pree led the company forward by redefining the way furniture was produced and designed for a changing world. The principles upon which De Pree founded Herman Miller continue to inspire Mill
erKnoll, Inc. to “build a more sustainable, caring, equitable, and beautiful world.”
“We designed the exhibit to match existing themes in the Dekker Huis Museum and historical themes of Zeeland,” said Rojo. The Main Street Display offers insight into other themes including manufacturing, leadership, healthcare systems, stewardship, and more. The Memorial Room interprets ideas of how WWII changed how we live and how Herman Miller adapted. You will also read about how a leg splint led Herman Miller to partner with Ray and Charles Eames. The Church Room delves into the story of D. J. De Pree as a spiritual man and how he helped establish the First Baptist Church in Zeeland. The Toy Room offers a look at how design is applied beyond the world of furnitu
re. The exhibit also includes interactives for all ages that invite visitors to participate, create, ask questions, and share their stories.
The Dekker Huis Museum is managed by the Zeeland Historical Society, and it interprets the history of Zeeland and neighboring communities. The museum is open to the public Wednesday through Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. It has no admission but welcomes donations with a suggested amount of $5 per adult. Learn more at www.zeelandhistory.org.