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Story 11: Learning to Lead

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A New Logo (1963)

Written by Mike Spock

Stimulated by all the product and graphic designers showing off their stuff in the modern postwar environment, everyone wanted a logo for their organization to announce that they were current and with it. As a regular browser of the Museum of Modern Art's design galleries and world's fair pavilions, I couldn't wait for World War II to be over and see what new "modern" products and buildings were waiting to be revealed. I remember my profound disappointment when the brand new five and ten in Rochester looked exactly like a 1920s Woolworths store from the post World War I era. I assumed that everything in this new progressive era would be modern. Didn't Woolworths know any better?

So of course, when I became the new director of The Children's Museum I couldn't think of not replacing our charming but very old-fashioned 1930s letterhead. Eric Von Schmidt, an illustrator and musician who lived in Cambridge, brought in a portfolio that looked promising. In no time we had a wonderfully appropriate design that would work in a variety of colors and settings and that for this first time felt just like us.

We were comfortable with the logo for the next fifteen years until the move to the Wharf when Andy Merriell worked out a new logo that lent itself, in his creative hands, to various antic versions on T-shirts that celebrated the museum's new look, softball team ("We Came to Play!"), and marked milestones in the museum's fortunes (the museum's rabbit drowning in the museum's gum ball machine when we all felt overwhelmed.) Andy's new logo also felt like us—the new us!

Next: Paid Admissions & Free Friday Nights (1963)