Exhibitions Archive

This archive includes past Cooper-Hewitt exhibitions dating back to 1975. Earlier exhibitions, including those set as early as the 1930s when the Museum was the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, are being compiled and will be added at a future date. The Museum is currently closed for renovation, scheduled to re-open in 2014.

Past exhibitions can also be explored online through exhibition catalogs and related publications in our collection of historical publications.

Magazine Covers: Art for the People

On View: Tuesday, August 25, 1981 to Sunday, November 1, 1981

The American and European magazine covers in this exhibition date from the mid-19th century to the present, and include titles such as The Illustrated London News, Punch, Le Rire, Domus, Camera, Harper's Weekly, and The New Yorker, as well as experimental Dadaist and Constructivist art publications.

magazine covers, graphic design, illustration, Periodicals, exhibitions

Gardens of Delight

On View: Thursday, July 9, 1981 to Sunday, August 23, 1981

In celebration of summer, two floors of the Museum are devoted to a major exhibition on horticulture and its many reflections in art. Apart from a number of important loans, the show is drawn primarily from the Museum's permanent collection. Nearly 500 decorative objects, furnishings, paintings, prints, drawings, books, and textiles with floral motifs are included. The museum's conservatory and garden are specially planted for the occasion.

gardens, landscape design, furniture, architectural drawings, ceramics, Glass, silver, wallpaper, textiles, metalwork, permanent collection, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349683

The Moving Image: The Art of Animation

On View: Tuesday, June 16, 1981 to Sunday, August 16, 1981

This exhibition features a diverse selection of original acetate animation cels and drawings. Special emphasis is given to landmark productions by Disney, such as Snow White and Fantasia, as well as to other major animation studios including Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera, Fleischer, Ub Iwerks Studio, and others.

animation, moving images, exhibitions


On View: Tuesday, May 26, 1981 to Sunday, August 9, 1981

These 100 examples represent the range of styles and time periods from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s permanent collection. Objects include work by John Turner of Staffordshire from the late 18th century, 16th-century French ceramics, Italian Majolica, and 20th-century glazed Rockwood pottery.

pottery, ceramics, decorative objects, permanent collection, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349425

19th-Century German Stage Design

On View: Tuesday, April 7, 1981 to Sunday, June 7, 1981

These selections of scenic and costume designs from the Deutsches Theatermuseum in Munich serve as an important document of theater production from the German court theaters at Weimar, Berlin, Vienna, Munich, and Bayreuth. This exhibition emphasizes the familiar operatic repertory of von Webern, Mozart, Rossini, and Wagner, as well as designs for dramatic productions by Shakespeare, Goethe, and Schiller. 

Germany, theatrical design, costumes, theater, opera, traveling exhibitions

Innovative Furniture in America

On View: Tuesday, March 10, 1981 to Sunday, May 10, 1981

A major retrospective of the innovative materials and mechanical gadgetry that has enabled 19th- and 20th-century American furniture to fold, retract, recline, and change form. Patent drawings and photographs accompany the furniture on display. 

furniture design, American, traveling exhibitions

John Henry Belter and the Rococo Revival

On View: Tuesday, March 10, 1981 to Sunday, May 24, 1981

This landmark Belter exhibition assembles many rare works from the 19th-century cabinetmaker's New York workshop. 

furniture, furniture maker, 19th century, New York, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35349659


On View: Sunday, February 8, 1981 to Sunday, April 26, 1981

The 500 matchsafes on view were selected from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum's collection of more than 4,000 matchsafes. Between the mid-19th century through the early 20th century, people carried matches in matchsafes to keep them dry and prevent accidental flames. Matchsafes were made from a wide range of materials, including all types of metals, ivory, wood, and even plastic.

matchsafes, Carol B. Brener, Stephen W. Brener, permanent collection, exhibitions, accessories, ch:exhibition=35349981

Ephemeral Images: Recent American Posters

On View: Thursday, January 29, 1981 to Sunday, March 29, 1981

This exhibition surveys posters created between 1971 and 1981 by America's foremost graphic designers.

graphic design, posters, American, 20th century, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35350269

Now I Lay Me Down to Eat: A Salute to the Unknown Art of Living

On View: Tuesday, November 18, 1980 to Thursday, January 22, 1981

This exhibition is an exercise in observation, exploring attitudes toward everyday domestic manners by filling the museum with familiar objects relating to such subjects as bathing, sitting, sleeping, eating, and cleansing. Settings from The Last Supper to Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion bathroom are explored.

Organized by Bernard Rudofsky, the Museum's scholar-in-residence.

domestic life, exhibitions