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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To banish Slav'ry's Bonds from Freedom’s Plains

Posted by Jennifer Johnson, on Wednesday June 19, 2013

Today is Emancipation Day, a holiday on which we commemorate the abolition of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Major-General Gordon Granger—who had arrived in Galveston, Texas, the preceding day with 2,000 Union troops—announced the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of the enslaved. On this day, a fitting object for contemplation is a sampler made in 1803 by Mary Emiston, a student at the African Free School in New York City. Mary ornamented her sampler with an inspirational verse calling for an end to slavery and oppression:

emancipation, slavery, New York African Free School, samplers

A Nice Day for a Picnic

Posted by Caitlin Condell, on Tuesday June 18, 2013

In 1970, Steven Frykholm was working as the in-house graphic designer for the furniture manufacturer Herman Miller, Inc., when a company vice-president stopped by his desk.  Every summer, the VP said, Herman Miller hosted a company picnic.  Perhaps Frykholm would make up a poster for the event?

Stephen Frykholm, Herman Miller Inc., poster, screenprint, graphic design, picnic, food, summer


Posted by Laurel McEuen, on Monday June 17, 2013

If you’re anything like me golf is not your forte, and well, neither is driving a golf cart. The only time I ever went golfing was with my dad, and I drove our cart through a pristine flower bed. Needless to say, I’ve not golfed since, but my dad and I still laugh about the look on my face as I lost control of the cart and tore through the landscaping. 

golf, golf balls, Father’s Day, Brian Connelly, Reeves Lewenthal, Associated American Artists, Pop Art, American Magic Realism

Material Masters

Posted by Cynthia E. Smith, on Monday June 17, 2013

Sculptural, ergonomic and light weight ––the DCW (Dining Chair Wood) along with the other molded plywood furniture designed by Charles and Ray Eames––was revolutionary in its material, form and manufacturing method. While still at the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, described as the “cradle of American modernism,” Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen initially collaborated on the design of a contoured molded wood veneer and upholstered chair.

Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Evans Products, Herman Miller Inc., furniture, plywood, American modernsim

Capturing the Majesty of Niagara Falls on Wallpaper

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Saturday June 15, 2013

This view of Niagara Falls is one scene from the scenic wallpaper Views of North America first produced by the French firm Zuber et Cie in 1834. This scenic contains 32 panels and shows some of the natural wonders of the continent: New York bay, Boston harbor, West Point, & the natural bridge of Virginia. Scenic wallpapers were introduced around 1804 and remained popular with new designs being introduced until 1865. Zuber is still printing a number of these early designs today, using the original woodblocks.

wallpaper, scenic, panorama, Niagara Falls, Zuber, block print


Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Friday June 14, 2013

Over the last fifteen years I have been fortunate enough to visit Japan a number of times and usually with the goal of researching and finding textiles for exhibitions.  There have been many textile discoveries, but more important has been my privilege to meet the extraordinary textile makers.  These encounters with the artists and designers at their studios, factories or homes have helped me to understand the context for their work and to appreciate what inspires them and why they chose textiles as their medium of choice.

indigo, shibori, tie-dye, Japan

Transform Your Bathing Experience

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Friday June 14, 2013

This is a scenic wallpaper designed for your bathroom. Called Sea Beauties, this was lithograph printed in Germany around 1930. The lithograph printing gives it a very soft look, almost like a watercolor, and because it is printed with oils is water resistant. Washable wallpapers as we know them today were not developed until 1934 and lithograph prints were one of the early wipeable papers. This set is composed of three panels, each 40 inches wide by over five feet high.

bathroom, fish, underwater, bathing, water, wallpaper

Elevating the Everyday

Posted by Andrea Lipps, on Thursday June 13, 2013

In the hands of Viennese glass firm J. & L. Lobmeyr, drinking a glass of water becomes a sensual ritual.

J. & L. Lobmeyr, POLKA, Glass, muslin glass

A Puzzling Order

Posted by Maleyne Syracuse, on Wednesday June 12, 2013

Anni Albers used her art to introduce order and clarity into an otherwise unstable and chaotic world.  She grew up in Berlin during World War I and in 1933 was forced to leave Germany for the US after the Nazis came to power and closed the Bauhaus where she and her husband, Josef Albers, were teaching. She had joined the Bauhaus as a student in 1922. There she studied weaving and is best known for her woven art, produced over a weaving career of almost fifty years.  

Anni Albers, Knoll Textiles, Bauhaus, pattern

Stairway to Modernism: Thérèse Bonney Collection

Posted by Jen Cohlman Bracchi, on Tuesday June 11, 2013

Upon first glance it is difficult to tell if we are looking up or down this spiral staircase.  Clean lines intersect with natural light, casting shadows that create a deceptive flattening effect from this vantage point. What appear to be stairs descending counterclockwise with no railing is actually the underside of the staircase designed to mimic the stairs above.   

Art Deco, modernism, Robert Mallet-Stevens, paris, Architecture, staircase, photograph
spiral staircase, black and white photograph