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...
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...
Diptych. Left: installation view of Contemporary Muslim Fashions shows three mannequins. One mannequin wears a brown tunic with red and gold decorations, camoflage scarf, giant hoop earrings, and an orange head wrap. Mannequin in center wears a dark draped jacket and matching headcovering. Right most mannequin wears brilliant red and gold Pakistani wedding dress
Q&A with Saba Ali, Stylist for Contemporary Muslim Fashions
The exhibition Contemporary Muslim Fashions examines the ascendancy of the global modest fashion industry. On view are 80 ensembles, ranging from high-performance sportswear to haute couture, that showcase how emerging and established designers are meeting the needs of stylish Muslim women. For the exhibition, the San Francisco-area image consultant Saba Ali styled the mannequins’ head...
Cara McCarty, an elegant woman with a fair complexion and wind-swept silver hair, gazes thoughtfully into the distance while standing in the Cooper Hewitt Terrace. She is wearing a light blue blouse and a long silver necklace.
Cara McCarty, Curator: An Astonishing Career
This appraisal of  Cara McCarty was contributed by Andrea Lipps, Associate Curator of Contemporary Design Cara McCarty is a curator, lecturer, and writer on modern and contemporary design. Celebrated for her multidisciplinary approach to design, McCarty began her curatorial career in 1980 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) where she held several curatorial positions....
Dianne Pilgrim, seen here in her middle years, is seated in a collections storage area, surrounded by objects such as a clock, a coffeemaker, and a lamp. She has a blonde bob and is smiling. Dianne is a wheelchair user.
Remembering Dianne Pilgrim
This tribute to Dianne Pilgrim was composed by Ellen Lupton. The world of design has lost a great friend with the passing of Dianne Pilgrim (1941–2019), director emeritus of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. When Pilgrim joined the museum as director in 1988, she brought her deep scholarly knowledge of American design as well as...
Barbara Mandel smiling in the Cooper Hewitt galleries
Remembering Barbara A. Mandel
Barbara A. Mandel, 1925–2019 Cooper Hewitt Trustee 1997-2019 The Board of Trustees and staff of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum deeply mourn the passing of our beloved friend and exceptional former Board Chair Barbara Mandel. Forthright, fiercely intelligent, and a champion of design education, Barbara served Cooper Hewitt from 1997-2019, first as chair of its...
In the ornate, wood-paneled Teak Room of Cooper Hewitt, a dozen illuminated white sculptures cast a warm glow. The sculptures look like sheets of fabric suspended and spinning in mid-air. There are also two of these forms in red. On a the corner are process models that make clear these ethereal forms are actually cast in plaster. Three gold sheets are suspended in layers near the top of the ceiling with a gold light projected through them. This creates an additional source of illumination.
Remembering Ingo Maurer, Lighting Poet
Author: Cara McCarty, Director of Curatorial Playful, humorous, poetic, and humble are not words typically associated with lighting design. It is considered a serious discipline.  But the work of the prolific German lighting designer Ingo Maurer, who sadly passed this week, is just that.  His endless fascination with the “magical and mystical” qualities of light...
Tobias, a white man around forty with dark hair, dark eyes, wearing black-framed glasses and a black polo shirt. He's slightly smiling with his mouth closed.
NDA 20 YRS | Q&A with Tobias Frere-Jones
Tobias Frere-Jones, winner of the 2019 National Design Award for Communication Design, is one of the world’s leading typeface designers, creating some of the most widely used typefaces, including Interstate, Poynter Oldstyle, Whitney, Gotham, Surveyor, Tungsten, and Retina. He started designing letterforms in 1986 at the age of 16 and became a professional type designer...
Two architects in business clothing. Lisa is a smiling Asian-American woman in her thirties. Craig is a tall white man with short white hair
NDA 20 YRS | Q&A with Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott
IwamotoScott Architecture, winner of the 2019 National Design Award for Interior Design, is a San Francisco-based architecture and design firm founded by Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott in 2000. Committed to pursuing architecture as a form of applied design research, the firm believes that each project can achieve a unique design synthesis. Conceptual themes of...