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Design is Storytelling
by Ellen Lupton, Senior Curator of Contemporary Design In 2017, Cooper Hewitt published my book Design Is Storytelling, which has become a best-seller among design books and has been translated into seven languages. Designers use form, color, materials, and language to stimulate curiosity, helping us understand everything from transit signs to shampoo bottles. Design embodies...
Summer Reading List: Design Book Recommendations from Cooper Hewitt Staff
Whether you’re lying on a beach or reclining at home keeping cool in the air conditioning, these design book recommendations from Cooper Hewitt Staff will pique your interest and dazzle your senses. Patterns: Inside the Design Library by Peter Koepke (Phaidon Press, 2016) Valerie Newton, Manager, SHOP Cooper Hewitt I’m a huge fan of textile...
Hot Poster Summer
Storytelling takes many forms and visual storytelling through poster design is one of our favorites. Found on subways, bus stops, billboards, and bulletin boards, posters can, with one image or a series of images, invite a viewer into a world and indeed a narrative. Be it for a book, movie, play, or even a product,...
A black ink outline drawing with shaded grey washes on off-white paper depicting the early 20th century, neo-Georgian style, sprawling mansion that houses the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, viewed from below as it is almost entirely submerged in turbulent, surging waves, and engulfed by dark, storm clouds.
Engaging in Difficult Histories Through Storytelling and World-Building
By Adriana Burkins, Education Associate How might museums inspire students to think critically about the objects they see and the narratives they read in our galleries? With some states pushing back against incorporating critical race theory into school curricula, how might we as museums and educators help equip students with the tools necessary to engage...
Five Questions with Rachel Ginsberg
Rachel Eve Ginsberg is a creative strategist and experience designer exploring the relationship between information systems, interaction design, and sense-making as the founding director of the Interaction Lab at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Rachel’s artistic work experiments with interactive experiences that drive self-discovery and personal transformation. Did you know… Rachel was born in New...
A catalog spread of futuristic and colorful exposition buildings at the 1964 world's fair.
Playing on Fair Grounds: From World Exposition to Public Park
By Elizabeth Broman, Reference Librarian, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library After a long winter of isolating indoors, many of us are eager to get back outdoors to appreciate our urban open spaces. Several major parks in cities across the United States and beyond owe thanks to World’s Fairs for their creation. A largely bygone tradition...
Five Questions With…Emily Orr
Emily M. Orr is the assistant curator of modern and contemporary American design at Cooper Hewitt. Her exhibitions at the museum include Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer (2021), Botanical Expressions (2019–21), and Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s (2017). Her exhibition experience gives her a unique perspective on Cooper Hewitt’s collection that we are excited to share with you.  Did you know?   She holds...
Graphic depiction of a man on the move, holding a camera and suitcase with the phrase 'American Airlines' printed on it.
Urban Graphic Transformation: London in the 1900s
Written by Caitlin Condell, Associate Curator and Head of Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design  After more than a year at home, many of us are aching for the joy of travel and escape. These days, we tend to indulge our temptation for travel through social media, magazines, blogs, and television programs. But as London begins to...
Graphic Illustration of various vessels: Martini Glass, Vase, Mug, Shot Glass arranged in a repeating grid. Some vessels have been repurposed into flower pots in a repeating motif.
Design at Home: Design a Mini Exhibit
What’s in your collection? Cooper Hewitt’s permanent collection is central to all activities at the museum, with its vast array of objects prompting untold and diverse stories. Learn how to curate your own exhibition from items you have at home with museum educator Kim Robledo-Diga and Senior Curator of Contemporary Design Ellen Lupton. As many...