Viktor Schreckengost, a nationally-heralded designer that put Cleveland on the map for industrial design, will soon have his own museum at the Tower Press Building, just east of downtown Cleveland. The museum is scheduled to open in April or May.
The nonprofit Viktor Schreckengost Foundation recently signed a lease on a 2,450-square-foot space on the first floor of Tower Press, a former factory at 1900 Superior Avenue that was turned into loft apartments, artist studios and offices a decade ago.
The museum’s goal is to celebrate Schrekengost’s career as an industrial designer, as well as Cleveland’s history as a center for industrial design. Schreckengost, who died in 2008 at age 101, designed a vast array of consumer goods, from trucks and bicycles to chairs, printing presses and gas stations.
Schreckengost also founded the industrial design department at the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). He taught thousands of students there during his lifetime, many of whom became influential designers and artists in their own right.
Karen Perkowski, co-owner of Tower Press, has followed and collected Schreckengost’s work for years before landing the museum in her building. She first developed a friendship with Schreckengost after he stopped in one day at the Artefino Café, a coffee and sandwich shop located in her building.
“I asked if we could name a sandwich after him and he agreed,” says Perkowski. The Schreckengost is a ham-and-Swiss sandwich with horseradish.
The museum will display a collection of Schreckengost’s designs that are now in storage at Cleveland State University (CSU). Admission will be free. The Schreckengost Foundation has said that part of the museum’s purpose is to spur interest from manufacturers in creating products based on the artist’s original designs.
While the museum will celebrate a piece of Cleveland’s past, its creators also hope to connect it to the city’s future. They want to tie it to an initiative by CIA and CSU to create a district of design on Euclid Avenue that will promote Cleveland as a hub for furniture manufacturers and other design companies.