Object of the Day

Discover a different object from the Museum’s collection every day of the week!

Museum curators, conservators, and educators, as well as design enthusiasts like our teen Design Scholars, docents, and Master’s students, are sharing their favorite objects from Cooper-Hewitt’s incredible collection.

Many of these objects will be featured in the expanded collection galleries when Cooper-Hewitt reopens in 2014. Until then, “Object of the Day” is your uniquely-curated corner of the Museum!

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A Way With Wood

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Wednesday September 04, 2013

When I first saw this console by the Japanese-American master woodworker and furniture maker, George Nakashima, I was, and still am, struck by the wonderful twelve-foot long expanse of wood that is the console top. It seems to be a celebration of the material, of the tree it came from—a warm-toned surface with a silky, nuanced grain and soft contoured edges, a surface that invites you to look, study, touch and run your hand along to feel it, even to tap it, hear it.

George Nakashima, wood, walnut, pandana, furniture

Industrial Espionage

Posted by Susan Brown, on Tuesday September 03, 2013

Turkey red refers to a brilliant scarlet dye for cotton, or more accurately, a process for dyeing cotton red. As suggested by the variety of names used --Turkey red, Adrianople red, rouge des Indes—the technique was practiced throughout the eastern Mediterranean, but was completely unknown in Europe before the eighteenth century. In order to discover the secret process, textile firms in England and France began sending industrial spies to Turkey and Greece.

dyeing, Turkey red, sample books, industrial espionage

A Richly Fabled Romance

Posted by Erin Gillis, on Monday September 02, 2013

The marriage between art and music has always been a richly fabled romance.  In the modern era, graphic designers have had a particular knack for fusing these two mediums by imbibing their personal passion for music into their work.  Consider for instance Reid Miles typographic album covers for the jazz label Blue Note in the 1950s or Wes Wilson’s psychedelic concert posters for Bill Graham presents in the 1960s. Each designer’s individual taste helped signify the way we see music.

Niklaus Troxler, graphic design, jazz, music, poster, Wes Wilson, Reid Miles, Ellery Eskelin Trio, circles, dots

An Ultra Modern Luxury Studio

Posted by Rebecca Gross, on Sunday September 01, 2013

For many of us residing in New York City, we quickly become accustomed to living in small apartments. Yet, through design, decoration, and furnishings we do our best to make our sometimes-cramped quarters as practical, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing as possible. In the 1930s, American-born designer Donald Deskey, inspired and influenced by European design of the period, created apartment interiors that were functional, sophisticated, and modern.

Donald Deskey, New York City, apartment, streamlining, interior design, Interior decoration, micro-unit, drawing

Something Borrowed and Something Blue

Posted by Carly Lewis, on Saturday August 31, 2013

England enjoyed imported indigo dye from India in the 17th century. It wasn’t until the mid 18th century, however, that two important innovations made delicate designs like this Bromley Hall textile possible.

printing, dyeing, indigo, copperplate

Grasset's Nymph

Posted by Caroline H. O'Connell, on Friday August 30, 2013

Graceful, swirling arcs envelop a golden-skinned, blue-coiffed woman.  Her eyes flicker back while her arm reaches forward, as if she is swimming away into the gilt turquoise surf intertwined with her cobalt locks.  Is she swimming amongst peaceful waves or against a looming kelp forest of her own serpentine locks?

Eugène-Samuel Grasset, Art Nouveau, jewelry design, drawing, hair, women

Lace in Fashion: Chantilly

Posted by Kimberly Randall, on Thursday August 29, 2013

In the mid-nineteenth century, a style of bobbin lace commonly known as Chantilly achieved a great popularity that endured in varying degrees until the end of the century.  The town of Chantilly produced lace for the French court in the eighteenth century, but ceased operations during the French Revolution. In the early nineteenth century, lace making slowly revived, but much of the production was made for export to the Spanish market.

Chantilly, lace, head covering

Popeye the Sailor

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Wednesday August 28, 2013

This children’s wallpaper illustrates characters from Thimble Theatre. Along with Popeye, Olive Oyl and Swee’Pea, the paper also shows Bluto (forever Popeye’s nemesis), Poopdeck Pappy (Popeye’s father), and Wimpy (who will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.) The scenes are arranged in a traditional figural landscape-style format with scenes taking place both indoors and out.

wallpaper, popeye the sailor, Children, Olive Oyl

Planetary: collecting and preserving code as a living object

Posted by Sebastian Chan & Aaron Cope, on Monday August 26, 2013


"This is a field in which one does one’s work and it will be obsolete within 10 years."

Steve Jobs, 1994

Cooper-Hewitt has just acquired its first piece of code. Although the collection has objects that are the end result of algorithmic processes, notably Patrick Jouin's 3D printed chair, Solid C2, this is the first time that code, itself, has been collected.

digital curation, code, iOS
Planetary iOS App by Bloom

A Pickle Fork for Every Occasion

Posted by Stephen H. Van Dyk, on Monday August 26, 2013

The roots of the firm Reed & Barton in Taunton, Massachusetts, go back to several ownerships starting in 1824, and by 1840 the firm of the silversmiths Reed & Barton was firmly established.  They created high quality goods that could compete with European and British silversmithing.  They achieved success as both a manufacturer and marketer of fine tableware and giftware products that are renowned for their outstanding design and exceptional craftsmanship.

Victorian Tableware, Victorian dining, Reed & Barton, Silverware, Eating Utensils, Forks, Knives, Spoons;
Red & Barton Catalogue