Recapping the view from inside - Pandemic as Portal: Exploring the in-between
A note: This article was co-written by Angela Perrone, Katherine Miller, and Rachel Ginsberg before the events of the past few weeks, in a world that feels yet again very different. Rather than rewriting, we’ve decided to publish as is. We stand in solidarity with those organizing against institutionalized racism and discrimination in all forms,...
Image features a ceramic vase with a slender neck and bulbous base. The neck is smooth and gilded. The base has a prickly, fur-like texture and is light pink. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Surreal Provocateurs
In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, June Object of the Week posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection.  Nature has a way of informing us—however we engage, we learn from its resilient processes. Nature also has a way of amusing, perplexing and delighting us with its complex and idiosyncratic forms. This edifying and...
embroidered, slavery sampler
“To banish Slav’ry’s Bonds from Freedom’s Plains”
On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, with the news that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth” by the newly freed people in Texas. In recognition of Juneteenth, we are sharing this post originally...
Further Reading on Collective Memory
On the occasion of the exhibition Willi Smith: Street Couture, Cooper Hewitt hosted a virtual discussion on the role of memory in recording and reflecting upon history. Moderated by Eric Darnell Pritchard, author and Associate Professor of English at the University at Buffalo, the panel featured Steven G. Fullwood, Archivist and Co-founder of the Nomadic...
Cover and interior pages of the Design at Home activity book.
Cooper Hewitt Develops Design at Home Activity Book to Bridge the Digital Divide
Cooper Hewitt’s Design at Home activity book was developed to increase educational equity in communities with less access to digital tools and platforms. Geared towards a multi-generational audience, it includes open-ended design prompts, hands-on activities, and coloring pages.
Image features a design drawing for a retail kiosk, consisting of a red platform with wheels supporting a black pyramid surmounted by a rectangle with a photograph of fashion designer Willi Smith in profile. A rectangular, black and white banner, proclaiming “WilliWear/WilliSmith” is on a pole at the top. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Radical Retail
In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, June Object of the Week posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection.  In 1987, artist and designer Dan Friedman was commissioned by his friends and collaborators Willi Smith and Laurie Mallet to design the interior of a new Paris retail store for their clothing brand WilliWear. In...
In profile, Ralph Caplan, a white man with white hair in advanced age wearing a suit, at a podium. Behind him is a red wall.
Remembering Ralph Caplan
Author: Ellen Lupton Ralph Caplan (1925–2020) was a writer and thinker. His 1982 book By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV, and Other Object Lessons appeared at a time when few people were addressing the everyday impact of design. His 2005 book Cracking the Whip is...
A handdrawn banner shows the faces of dozens of people of many skintones and gender expressions
A Message to Our Community
We are heartbroken and anguished by recent events. As Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lonnie Bunch III stated, “Once again, we struggle to make sense of the senseless. Once again, we bear witness to our country’s troubled history of racial violence, from Freddie Gray and Eric Garner to Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin. Once again, we try...
Image features: Silk embroidery in pale colors on dark blue linen. A horizontally and vertically symmetrical floral pattern in the Morris style. Please scroll to read the blog post about this object.
The Titan’s Daughter
In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, June Object of the Week posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. A version of this post was originally published on June 20, 2016. May Morris will forever be in the shadow of her famous father William Morris, the chief protagonist of the English Arts and Crafts movement,...