Exhibitions Archive

This archive includes past Cooper-Hewitt exhibitions dating back to 1975. Earlier exhibitions, including those set as early as the 1930s when the Museum was the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, are being compiled and will be added at a future date. The Museum is currently closed for renovation, scheduled to re-open in 2014.

Past exhibitions can also be explored online through exhibition catalogs and related publications in our collection of historical publications.


On View: Tuesday, August 14, 1984 to Sunday, November 4, 1984

The exhibition presents damask weaves in silk, linen, and wool from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s collection. Among the objects on view are a 14th-century Chinese satin damask, 16th–19th-century traditional European patterns woven on different types of looms, and a linen napkin made for Napoleon I.

textiles, weaving, fabrics, permanent collection, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35350015

Design in the Service of Tea

On View: Tuesday, August 7, 1984 to Sunday, October 28, 1984

This exhibition traces the design history of tea. Tea services of ceramic, metal, glass, and other materials are accompanied by furniture and graphic arts. Works by Wedgwood, Staffordshire, Royal Worcester, Minton, and Sèvres are on display, as are designs by Walter Gropius, Christopher Dresser, and Mario Bellini.

tea service, permanent collection, exhibitions, ch:exhibition=35350211

Manhattan Skyline: New York Skyscrapers Between the Wars

On View: Tuesday, June 12, 1984 to Sunday, September 23, 1984

Detailed sketches, perspective drawings, models, vintage photographs, decorative objects, and architectural ornaments document the development of New York City skyscrapers between World War I and World War II. 

Architecture, architectural drawings, New York City, 20th century, exhibitions

Visual Spaces in Music: Drawings by John De Cesare

On View: Tuesday, May 1, 1984 to Sunday, August 5, 1984

More than 50 pencil drawings by John De Cesare (1890–1972), an American architect and sculptor, are displayed here for the first time. Inspired by "The Star-Spangled Banner," De Cesare used the national anthem's musical notation as the basis for his artwork. The drawings, produced from the 1920s through the 1940s, are part of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum's permanent collection.

drawings, music, John De Cesare, 20th century, American, permanent collection, exhibitions

Circles of the World: Traditional Art of the Plains Indians

On View: Tuesday, April 24, 1984 to Sunday, July 15, 1984

This exhibition documents the arts of the nomadic Plains Indians from the mid-19th through the early 20th century. Eighteen tribes are represented through artifacts including tepees, beaded buffalo hides, a feathered headdresses, painted clothing, and ceremonial pipes. The majority of the 150 objects on display are from the collection of the Denver Art Museum.

Organized by Richard Conn, curator of native arts at the Denver Art Museum.

Native American, traveling exhibitions

Finished in Beauty: Southwest Indian Silver

On View: Tuesday, April 17, 1984 to Sunday, July 8, 1984

From the Virginia Doneghy Collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, several hundred masterworks of silver are on view. Works by Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi tribes includes necklaces, rings, bracelets, horse bridles, and concha belts.

Native American, silver, jewelry, accessories, traveling exhibitions

Embroidered Samplers

On View: Tuesday, February 21, 1984 to Sunday, May 27, 1984

These embroidered samplers, chosen from the Museum's collection of more than one thousand samplers, represent work from the seventeenth through the nineteen century that was made in the United States, Mexico, Western Europe, and China. These works, often handcrafted by young girls, are arranged geographically.

embroidery, samplers, handicrafts, needlework, fabric, thread, patterns, exhibitions, permanent collection, ch:exhibition=35349951

Netsuke: Japanese Design in Miniature

On View: Tuesday, January 31, 1984 to Sunday, April 8, 1984

An exhibition devoted to the small sculptures originally designed as toggles for purses and pouches. The four hundred netsuke on display, carved in a variety of forms including Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist deities, are from the collection of the Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Japan, netsuke, accessories, exhibitions

Etchings by the Tiepolos: From the Cooper-Hewitt Collection

On View: Tuesday, January 24, 1984 to Sunday, April 22, 1984

Rare prints by the 18th-century painter, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and his sons, Giovanni Domenico and Lorenzo Baldissera, are on display. 

etchings, prints, Italy, 18th century, permanent collection, exhibitions

American Enterprise: Nineteenth-Century Patent Models

On View: Tuesday, January 17, 1984 to Sunday, April 1, 1984

An exhibition of patent models from the golden age of American invention. The 500 miniature models on display were submitted to the United States Patent Office between 1836 to 1880, the years models were a required part of the patent application. These objects—varyingly iconic, quotidian, and curious—are each under 12-inches tall.  

American, 19th century, inventions, product design, Industrial Design, exhibitions