Image of a magazine page of the start of an article on Marion Dorn, featuring a block of text and five colorful images depicting textile designs.
Marion Dorn, Back in the USA
American designers Marion V. Dorn and E. McKnight Kauffer returned to New York in 1940 after a long, productive period working abroad in England. Their retreat, spurred by World War II, was a hasty one. Dorn, the more resilient of the pair, spent much of the 1940s re-establishing her career, even briefly designing scarves for...
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.
Vertically rectangular batik hanging of a landscape with a tent and a column in the middle ground, surrounded by cedar trees. Low plants and a spider web fill the foreground. The night sky has stars and billowing clouds. A floral vine border on all sides with rabbits in bottom section. Gray, green, apricot, yellow, and white.
Camp in Connecticut
Designers can find inspiration from varying forms of creative expression. Looking at the batik murals of the American artist and designer Lydia Bush-Brown (1887–1984), her sources seemed clear. Sketches capturing scenes from her travel in the 1920s to Syria and Italy can be found repeatedly in her work. Murals featuring Syrian villages on terraced hills,...
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...