Can you explain a little bit about the type of work you do at Cooper-Hewitt?
I organize the insurance, packing, shipping and installation of exhibitions, loans and travel shows. I am also very involved with our off site collection moves, planning of storage space and the care of our collections.

What was your background before coming to Cooper-Hewitt?
I worked at the Cranbrook Art Museum while working on my MFA and continued my education with the Whitney independent study program. After graduating and moving to New York, I started working as an art handler at Cooper-Hewitt. I really enjoyed it and decided I wanted to pursue a museum career.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I really like the challenges of the job, every exhibition poses a new set of problems. We do such a wide variety of shows ranging from high value gems to artist designed dog houses in the garden (one of which was made of dog biscuits and had to be removed from the show when we discovered it was being eaten by rats). A number of the objects in Design for the Other 90% came from Africa and were very difficult to track down and ship. In order to get a Big Boda load carrying bicycle, one of the designers had to travel to Kenya and pedal the bike with a stack of plastic crates on the carrier from Brooklyn through Central Park to deliver it to Cooper-Hewitt. I also really enjoy working with the Registrar team, a very dedicated and fun group to be around.

What was the most memorable moment for you at Cooper-Hewitt?
Running into Mick Jagger in one of the galleries.

How has the renovation either opened new doors or posed new challenges for you?
The renovation has given us a chance to really focus on collections care. The Registrar and Conservation departments have been very busy over the past two years moving collections into new spaces along with overseeing the inventory and reconciliation of our wall coverings, product design and decorative arts and textile collections. The renovation gave us a chance to re-design and make better use of our off site space and we now have a state of the art collection storage space of which I am very proud.

Looking forward, what are you most excited about once the museum reopens?
I’m excited about having more of our collections on view. When I tell people where I work, the first comment is often “What a great collection, I wish I could see more of it.” The new galleries should really help us show off our amazing collection.

Do you have a favorite designer or design era?
I really like Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A few years ago, I travelled with my family to Glasgow where we visited the Willow Tea Room, the School of Art and the House for an Art Lover. I really appreciate his attention to every detail of the furnishings and decorations. I’m also a big fan of Gerrit Rietveld and Frank Lloyd Wright, the designers of some of my favorite objects in our collection.

What’s the last exhibition/book/movie/city that left a lasting impression on you?
Visiting Charleston, the Sussex country house of the Bloombury group, definitely made a lasting impression on me. The artists decorated the walls, furniture and doors and really turned the house and garden into magical places.

What are your interests/hobbies outside of the museum/design world?
I paint in my spare time. Everyone in my family is an artist and we tend to plan trips around exhibitions that we want to see.

Finally, if you could redesign anything, what would it be?
I’d be happy if someone would design a remote control that I could figure out!

One thought on “Meet the Staff: Steve Langehough

Hello Mr. Langehough,

I am a grad student at Johns Hopkins University and pursuing a degree in Museum Studies and Non Profit Management. I visited your museum last weekend and I was fascinated by the World of Radio cotton batik by Arthur Gordon Smith. I am currently taking a collections management class and was impressed on the display of this specific piece.

I had questions about the mounting of the piece on the wall and was hoping you could answer some questions or pass my message onto whomever was the most appropriate person.

My questions:

Can you tell me how the batik was mounted onto the wall? I can see that there are pins/buttons throughout the piece which appear to be used to keep it flush to the wall.

Did you have any issues when mounting it to the wall?

What strategy was used in selecting where to place the pins/buttons?

Is this piece part of the permanent collection?

Are you concerned with the batik fading over time? The website states that it was “resting in a storage facility” but I saw it on display last week. How often and for how long do you circulate it out for preservation?

If my questions are best answered over a phone conversation, I am happy to talk to anyone who would be able to answer my questions.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Milena Acosta

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