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 Game of Natural Treasures

Posted by Kristina Parsons, on Sunday February 09, 2014

With the establishment of Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872, Americans began embracing the idea of preserving and protecting the best of the United States’ natural treasures for the benefit and enjoyment of generations to come. In the years following the end of the Civil War, an increasing number of travelers navigated the country exploring and enjoying the landscape. They shared their discoveries and encounters through a variety of printed media, and soon these sites were recognized as iconic American landmarks.

Yellowstone National Park, America, playing cards, game, lesiure, Grand Canyon, Niagra Falls, Yosemite, Civil War, Thomas Moran

The Power of the Purse

Posted by Laura Camerlengo, on Saturday February 08, 2014

In Elizabethan England (1558 – 1603), elaborate purses were often used to parcel gifts, and this lustrous purse may have been intended as a luxurious gift wrap. At New Year’s, for example, higher nobles and bishops were obliged to present Queen Elizabeth with gold coin-filled purses as a sign of their gratitude and loyalty to their monarch.

purses, macramé, gift-giving, Elizabethan, Bacchus

A Precious Posterior, Preserved for Posterity

Posted by Katie Shelly, on Friday February 07, 2014

The Honey Pop Chair is made entirely of paper. 120 layers of honeycombed, glassine paper. 

furniture, chair, innovative, Japan, paper, conservation

Bad Things Come in Large Packages

Posted by Erin Gillis, on Thursday February 06, 2014

The color palette of contrasting red, black and white symbolized Russia’s Communist Revolution and represent the polarities in ideologies between the Socialist Reds and the Whites of the aristocracy. This Constructivist theory of art as political message was brilliantly depicted in El Lissitzky’s Beat the Whites With The Red Wedge, 1919.

poster, graphic design, advertising, Socialism, Russian Constructivism, Communism, Poland, Russia, red

Will the real Esther please stand up?

Posted by Gregory Herringshaw, on Wednesday February 05, 2014

This firescreen or overdoor is based on the 1738 painting La Toilette d'Esther by Jean-François de Troy (French, 1679-1752). This wallpaper is an almost exact replication of the original oil painting by de Troy. The manufacturer has used about 40 printed colors to capture the lushness of the original painting with all its luxurious textiles. Each printed color required about 5 different shades to create this sense of depth. As this is a wood block print, each different color required a separate hand-carved woodblock.

wallpaper, firescreen, overdoor, Esther, Jean-Francois de Troy

Celebrating a new church

Posted by Jennifer Johnson, on Tuesday February 04, 2014

Julia Ann Nivers’ sampler features a townscape beneath three alphabets and a religious verse, enclosed in a border of stylized strawberries. Of the buildings depicted on the sampler, only the Hopewell Presbyterian Church can be identified. Construction on the Gothic Revival building, which still stands today in Julia’s hometown of Crawford, New York, began in 1831. The first services were held there in 1832, which may have been why Julia chose to highlight the church on her 1833 sampler.

samplers, Julis Ann Nivers, Hopewell Presbyterian Church, Gothic Revival

Art in Metal: The Modernist Jewelry of Greenwich Village’s Art Smith

Posted by Abby Bangser, on Monday February 03, 2014

Joel and Ethan Cohen’s movie that is in theaters now, Inside Llewyn Davis, sets much of its story around the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. From 1946-1979, over on 140 West Fourth Street, the African-American jewelry designer, Art Smith (American, born in Cuba, 1917-1982), fashioned modernist pieces from simple metals that achieved new expressions in shape and form.

bracelet, earrings, Art Smith, Alexander Calder, Jean Arp, Duke Ellington, Greewich Village, Margot Gayle, Eleanor Roosevelt

Visual Verbal Wit

Posted by Gabrielle Golenda, on Sunday February 02, 2014

The ITF Internationale Tentoonstelling op Filmgebied (International film exhibition) poster is an unusual advertisement. The subject of the poster - an educational exhibition on the history of film, new technologies, screening (all film types including the avant-garde) and all other facets to the world of film – is reflected in the poster’s execution.

Piet Zwart, poster, graphic design, film, typography

The Father of Swedish Modern Design

Posted by Emily Shapiro, on Saturday February 01, 2014

When I think of modern design, a joyful outburst of color and pattern is not what springs to mind. Instead, I imagine an all-white room decorated with highly functional, minimalist chairs and couches. Everything is simple and streamlined, in sharp, crisp lines and primary colors.

Scandinavian modern design, Josef Frank, Svenkst Tenn

Waste Basket Boutique

Posted by Kristina Parsons, on Friday January 31, 2014

In March of 1966, Scott Paper Company created the first paper dress as a promotional ad gimmick to help sell their product. To receive their newest paper fashion, customers simply mailed in a coupon from a Scott product along with a small fee (around $1.25) and in return they would receive for their paper dress. This advertising gimmick quickly and unexpectedly caught on with consumers.

paper fashions, Mars Manufacturing Company, Mod, Pop