Printed fabric has a design of wheat sheaves in black against a background of orange and yellow.
The Glow of Althea McNish
Althea McNish (1924–2020) was one of the first Black women designers to receive international recognition for her achievements in design. Her textile Golden Harvest marks the beginning of a remarkable career for an under-recognized pioneer of 20th-century textile design.
Screenshot from iOS app Planetary. "Artists are stars" reads text next to a brilliant sun. "Albums are planets" says text near a planet.
A Love Letter to Planetary
We’ve written before about Cooper Hewitt’s first acquisition of an iOS app, Planetary: first Seb Chan and Aaron Cope described their unique and unusual way of “collecting” the app in 2014, and then we wrote about why Planetary was no longer functioning in 2019. In 2020, however, software developer Kemal Enver remastered the work and...
A moonscape against a black sky with the sun and earth in the upper left and right of the image. In the foreground are six astronauts in white spacesuits, who are in various poses, mostly standing, one sitting. One of the six is climbing down from the Apollo 11 moon lander onto the moon surface. The astronauts names, "Neil, Chloe, Li, Jayden, Maria, and Ed" float above their heads.
Design Retrospective: ScienceVR Treasure Hunt
This article was written by educator and experience designer, Caitlin Krause as part of a series of Design Retrospectives on the prototypes commissioned by Cooper Hewitt’s Interaction Lab for the Activating Smithsonian Open Access Challenge. When ScienceVR co-founders Yen-Ling Kuo, Jackie Lee, and I began to approach the design process for the Activating Smithsonian Open...
Free-blown glass vase with pale blue, purple, and gold-toned iridescent body, its shape is a depressed sphere with a squarish opening that has a turned-down rim. Three irregular thick ribs line the sides diminishing to points at the base.
Year of Glass: Imitating the Ancient
Start the 2022 Year of Glass with a modern glassmaker inspired by ancient Roman models.
Tennis player Naomi Osaka wears a black face mask with the name "Philando Castile" printed in white letters.
A Year of Responsive Collecting at Cooper Hewitt
Written by Julia Carabatsos Featured image: Face mask, Philando Castile, 2020; Designed by Naomi Osaka; Gift of Naomi Osaka, Cooper Hewitt Responsive Collecting Initiative; Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images A grey sphere with red spikes: by now, we immediately recognize this form as an image of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The ubiquitous illustration—created by Alissa...
A black ink line drawing with washes of dark grey on off white paper depicting what appears to be a scene of people viewing an art exhibition. On the right a dark-skinned figure sits facing the viewer on a round-backed chair, to the figure's left is a blackamoor sculpture of an ornately dressed, very dark-skinned figure. To its left and behind is an array of figures, rendered in dark grey shadow, viewing various artifacts around the room, including a sculpture of a boat filled with figures, an ornate hanging tapestry and a radio blasting sound represented with jagged lines.
Artifacts of àlá: An Afrofuturist Lab
Explore the Afrofuturist lab of a young explorer in 2077.
A Commercial Artist with Ideals
For nearly twenty years between the two world wars, E. McKnight Kauffer, an American, was the most celebrated graphic designer in England. He was best known for his eye-catching posters, but his book covers and illustrations, graphic identities, carpets, stage sets, costumes, and ephemera were also among the most arresting of his era. Kauffer believed fervently that modern art should move beyond the walls of museums and galleries to infiltrate all elements of daily life.
Design Retrospective: Writing with Open Access
This article  was written by Jono Brandel, new media artist and team lead for Writing with Open Access. It is the first in a series of Design Retrospectives on the prototypes commissioned by Cooper Hewitt’s Interaction Lab as part of Activating Smithsonian Open Access in Spring of 2021.  Introduction It was a series of interviews...
Composite image of two photographs, both picturing an exhibition of geometric structures in a brown wooded room.
Cooper Hewitt + The Smithsonian Institution: Becoming the Nation’s Design Museum
On October 7, 1976, Cooper Hewitt opened, joining the Smithsonian and becoming the nation’s design museum. Learn how that came to be.