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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Ribbons and Bows

Posted by Sarah Donahue, on Friday March 15, 2013

Even today, in the twenty-first century, when we think of ribbons and bows we tend to think of girls, not boys.  This design from 1755, has both ribbons and bows, but was designed by an Englishman: Thomas Chippendale.  What is more, it was published in a book meant exclusively for men: The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director.  Chippendale’s publication was a pattern book with multiple designs for domestic objects such as chairs, beds, tall clocks, frames, and high boys – all prese

Thomas Chippendale, chairs, furniture, etching, rococo

Learning by Crocheting

Posted by Matilda McQuaid, on Thursday March 14, 2013

There is something very seductive about mathematical models and equations.  Whether it is their complexity and conciseness, orderly arrangement of symbols and numbers on the page, or their beauty as physical structures, they reflect the problem-solving process in action.   

crochet, math, Daina Taimina

Wrapped up

Posted by Amanda Kesner, on Wednesday March 13, 2013

Pojagi is a Korean ceremonial wrapping cloth used to cover gifts, protect sacred writings, hold food or carry objects in everyday life. The primary purpose of a pojagi is to respect an object and present the recipient with blessing and good will. Pojagi is still used in contemporary Korean society but it became a cultural icon in pre-modern Korea during the Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910).

Pojagi, textiles, silk, Korea, International Quilt Study Center & Museum

Illuminating New York: Caldwell & Company

Posted by Jen Cohlman, on Tuesday March 12, 2013

This black and white photograph represents just one of 37,000 from the National Design Library's Caldwell & Company Collection. Also containing 13,000 original drawings and watercolor sketches, this immense visual resource comprises one of the largest lighting fixture archives by a single American company.

lighting, Art Deco, Carnegie mansion, ceiling fixture, metalwork
Saturn shaped lighting fixture for Rockefeller Center by Caldwell & Company

Napoleon's Other Wife

Posted by Sarah R. Donahue, on Monday March 11, 2013

Though most people only know of his first wife Joséphine, Napoleon I of France was married twice during his lifetime. Napoleon and Joséphine were married on March 9, 1796. Their marriage was a strained one, due to Napoleon’s extensive travel and their inability to have children. Though their correspondence shows that they had once cared for one another, by 1809, Napoleon was looking to divorce Joséphine and wed another woman who could offer him money and children.

Napolean, Marie-Louise of Austria, embroidery design, commemorative

Birth of Venus

Posted by Christopher Chitris, on Sunday March 10, 2013

The reason I chose this wallcovering by Teresa Kilham was due to the mythology behind this piece. As a child I was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology. I was so fascinated by all the different gods and goddesses. The gods portrayed in this piece, Neptune and Venus are largely involved in the ocean which I have also loved my whole life. When I was younger my favorite mythological god was Aphrodite due to her strange "birth." The story behind her birth is that she rose from the sea foam in a seashell.

Venus, shell, wallpaper, sea, Neptune

Keeping Warm: A Pennsylvania Coverlet

Posted by Kimberly Randall, on Saturday March 09, 2013

The American woven coverlet presents an appealing visual record of the patterns and designs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The seemingly simple geometric elements come together in a boldly graphic way that resonates with many collectors today. This particular coverlet, acquired by Cooper-Hewitt in 2010, was most likely made before the arrival of the Jacquard attachment – a special mechanical loom component from France that was made of a series of punched cards. Invented in 1806, it was widely available in the United States by the early 1820s.

coverlet, Jacquard, Pennsylvania, woven, snowball, pine tree

Flower Power

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Friday March 08, 2013

Love in Bloom is a beautifully designed wallpaper that speaks of the period during which it was made. The differing shades of taupe printed in transparent colors on the reflective Mylar foil ground create a great sense of depth. Produced in 1968, it speaks very strongly of the Flower Power movement, of peace in turbulent times, as well as the use of new materials.

wallpaper, Mylar, screenprint, peace, floral, flowers

Before There Were Ring Tones There Were Rings

Posted by Cynthia Trope, on Thursday March 07, 2013

If you grew up in America in the mid-1950s-70s, you no doubt encountered the Model 500 telephone or one of its variants in almost every home or workplace you entered. The model 500 became the standard desk-style phone in the U.S., with over 93 million units produced for homes and offices between 1949 and the divestiture of AT&T (the Bell System) in 1984.

Telephone, Model 500, Henry Dreyfuss, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Western Electric Manufacturing Company, Industrial Design

Art Deco: Cubism and Classical Tradition

Posted by Terry Ryan, on Wednesday March 06, 2013

If  c.1900 - 1914 the international avant-garde held sway over the cultural life of Paris, the period immediately following World War I -- often referred to as the "return to order" --  saw a renewal of French cultural values -- that is, "tradition" and, of course, "Classicism."  When these values in design were touched by the lingering spirit of the avant-garde, the result was one of the most successful and admired styles of the 20th century:  Art Deco.

Terry Ryan, Art Deco, Louis Sue, Andre Mare, Architectures, National Design Library, Cubism, La Compagnie dea Arts Francais, Paul Valery
Architectures by Sue et Mare, Tome Premier