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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Lone Scout of the Sky

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Monday May 20, 2013

On May 20-21, 1927 Charles Lindbergh made his historic non-stop flight from New York to Paris covering a distance of 3,600 miles. Overnight Lindbergh’s status changed from U.S. Air Mail pilot to international hero. He was awarded the nation’s highest military honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as the Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts for his distinguished service to youth. Because of his perseverance, courage and bravery, Lindbergh was hailed as a great inspiration for boys, and became a role model for the Boy Scouts of America.

Lindbergh, airplane, paris, New York, Spirit of St. Louis

Small is Classically Beautiful

Posted by Lucy Commoner, on Sunday May 19, 2013

This rare and beautifully painted fan dates from the early nineteenth century, a period when smaller fans became fashionable.  Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s collection includes other small fans of the early nineteenth century that are often made of spangled silk and net, such as this delicate fan from 1805-1810: 

Folding Pleated Fan. France, 1805-1810. Gift of Miss Elizabeth d’Hauteville Kean.1923-24-8.


May Flowers

Posted by Laura Muha, on Saturday May 18, 2013

Last summer, a dozen members of my family and I gathered in a Cooper-Hewitt study room to see this undated gouache of chrysanthemums and other botanical studies by Baltimore-born textile designer Sophia L. Crownfield (1862-1929).

Sophia L. Crownfield, silk, flowers, textile design

Fast as a Silver Bullet!

Posted by Gail S. Davidson and Hampton Wayt, on Friday May 17, 2013

It could be argued that the 1930s was the golden era of the industrial designer in America.  During the Depression, American manufacturers had to compete for limited consumer dollars.  Industry leaders turned to a crop of former theater and graphic designers including Norman Bel Geddes, Walter Dorwin Teague, Henry Dreyfuss, and Raymond Loewy to restyle and re-engineer their industrial and consumer products to seduce clients and consumers.  These four industrial design pioneers applied the “streamline” style, based on the aerodynamics of boats and planes, to such d

Seduced by an Object Poster

Posted by Caitlin Condell, on Thursday May 16, 2013

The turn of the twentieth century was an exciting time to be a graphic designer in Berlin.  The city, which had once been the sleepy capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, had rapidly transformed into a booming metropolis, bustling with the energy of industrial progress.  At a moment when everything seemed to be changing, the printed poster offered an exhilarating opportunity to explore the alliance of art and industry, particularly to one precocious young man.

Lucian Bernhard, poster, typewriters, graphic design, Berlin, Germany, Sachplakat, Art Nouveau, Jugenstil

For the Not-so-Minimal Interior

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Wednesday May 15, 2013

The simplistic styling of the poppies frieze shows the effect of the Mission Style on the American interior. Gone are the embossed surfaces, metallic pigments, scrolling medallions, and other excesses of the Victorian period. The floral motifs have been reduced to their most basic elements while still appearing to have some depth. Traditionally a block-printed design would use about 6 colors to shade each given element, while here the entire design is printed in 7.

wallpaper, frieze, border, poppy, ingrain, Mission style

Ballet Brigands

Posted by Rebekah Pollock, on Tuesday May 14, 2013

Two dangerous looking brigands stand at attention, ready to spring into action; their brightly colored cloaks flap in the wind. The energetic tension of these figures, their exotic appeal and wildly patterned textiles are all signature traits of work by the great costume and stage set designer Léon Bakst. The Jewish Russian artist began designing for the legendary Ballets Russes in 1909, at the age of 43. The dance company amazed audiences with its radical choreography, inventive music and extraordinary sets and costumes.

Léon Nikolajewitsch Bakst, Costume design, Ballet Russes, textile design

From Frivolity to Revolt: The Hôtel de Salm’s Role in the French Revolution

Posted by Stacey Leonard, on Monday May 13, 2013

Jean-Guillaume Moitte, Henri Auguste, Thomas Jefferson, Hôtel de Salm, Architecture, satyrs, neo-classicism

A Modernist Mother's Helper

Posted by Cynthia Trope and Annie Hall, on Sunday May 12, 2013

A fascinating confluence of design, technology, utility, and social influences is embodied in the Radio Nurse, part of a wireless microphone and speaker system introduced in 1938 by the Zenith Radio Corporation, conceived as a baby monitor and aid for home or hospital. The system consisted of a sculptural transmitter called the Radio Nurse, designed by artist Isamu Noguchi, and a simple, functional box-like receiver called the Guardian Ear.

Isamu Noguchi, Zenith Radio Corporation, Radio Nurse, baby monitor, Bakelite, modernism

English Flowers in Fashion

Posted by Kimberly Randall, on Saturday May 11, 2013

An embroidered waistcoat from the Greenleaf collection is a fine example of English aristocratic style from the late eighteenth century. Although France dictated the fashionable silhouette for a man’s suit, which consisted of a coat, waistcoat and knee breeches, the English made subtle changes that allowed for more ease and comfort. The lifestyles of French and English aristocrats can explain the differing attitudes toward courtly dress.