about

The Object of the Day blog is written by Cooper Hewitt’s curators, graduate fellows, and contributing researchers and scholars. Posts are published five times a week (Monday through Friday) and present research on an object from the museum’s collection. With over 210,00 objects spanning thirty centuries of decorative arts and design, Object of the Day explores the material culture of textiles, graphic design, furniture, products, architectural drawings, wallcoverings, and much more. You can also subscribe to our Object of the Day email for a daily dose of design delivered to your inbox.

This poster for the exhibition “Impressions/Expressions: Black American Graphics” bears the title at top, with credit information below. A brightly colored image draws the eye at the center of the poster, a lithograph by the artist Margo Humphrey. A border of purple, red, and orange surrounds an abstracted scene, with a bright blue sky. A large yellow tiger, sketchily drawn, bears its teeth at the bottom of the frame, while a pair of figures float above, in embrace. Surrounding these figures, chili peppers, bananas, moons, and stars seem to rain from above,
First Impressions/Expressions Count
In October of 1979, an exhibition entitled Impressions/Expressions: Black American Graphics opened at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The show, associated with the second annual “Survival of the Black Artist” Fine Arts Festival, later traveled to Howard University—alma mater of the exhibition’s 26 year-old curator, Richard J. Powell.[1] The first survey of its kind, Impressions/Expressions...
Image features tablet computer prototype in the form of a dark gray trapezoidal housing containing a rectangular screen; function buttons along the edges of the housing, and a separate pen-like gray stylus with red top. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Functional Prototype for a Touchscreen Tablet Computer
This week’s posts feature case studies from Cooper Hewitt’s Digital Collections Management Project, a conservation survey of born-digital and hybrid objects in the permanent collection. The two-year project was coordinated by an in-house team of conservators, curators, and registrar, and was conducted by digital conservation specialist Ben Fino-Radin and his team at Small Data Industries....
Image features an IPad data visualization representing a user's music library: at top left, a sun (artists), top right a planet (album), lower left a moon (song), and at lower right a constellation (filter); below these is a row of various celestial bodies. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Planetary, Cooper Hewitt’s First iOS App
This week’s posts feature case studies from Cooper Hewitt’s Digital Collections Management Project, a conservation survey of born-digital and hybrid objects in the permanent collection. The two-year project was coordinated by an in-house team of conservators, curators, and registrar, and was conducted by digital conservation specialist Ben Fino-Radin and his team at Small Data Industries....
Image features laptop computer in a low, black rectangular housing, hinged at top center to open, clamshell-style, revealing a screen and keyboard. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Milestone of Early Laptop Computer Development
This week’s posts feature case studies from Cooper Hewitt’s Digital Collections Management Project, a conservation survey of born-digital and hybrid objects in the permanent collection. The two-year project was coordinated by an in-house team of conservators, curators, and registrar, and was conducted by digital conservation specialist Ben Fino-Radin and his team at Small Data Industries....
Image features white 3D-printed construction toy kit connectors of various shapes and sizes. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Preserving 3D Data and 3D Prints
This week’s posts feature case studies from Cooper Hewitt’s Digital Collections Management Project, a conservation survey of born-digital and hybrid objects in the permanent collection. The two-year project was coordinated by an in-house team of conservators, curators, and registrar, and was conducted by digital conservation specialist Ben Fino-Radin and his team at Small Data Industries....
Image features square black form, hinged at the top and opened to reveal an LDC screen showing a black and white drawing of an office with clock and in and out boxes on the wall, a file cabinet, and a desktop in the foreground having a telephone, rolodex, letter, pad, and calendar. A row of icons for different functions is below the desk. A short antenna is attached on right side of the lid, near the hinge. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Predecessor of Today’s Smartphones
This week’s posts feature case studies from Cooper Hewitt’s Digital Collections Management Project, a conservation survey of born-digital and hybrid objects in the permanent collection. The two-year project was coordinated by an in-house team of conservators, curators, and registrar, and was conducted by digital conservation specialist Ben Fino-Radin and his team at Small Data Industries....
Image features three clear glass drinking glasses in graduated sizes, each one in the form of a cylinder with a curved base on a low square foot. Please scroll down to read the blog post about these objects.
Modern Glassware
During the height of the Great Depression, Libbey Glass Company, a commercial glass manufacturer based in Toledo, Ohio, released several new lines of stemware including this Knickerbocker set. The 1933 Libbey Glass catalog heralded this introduction of products as a “New Era of Glass” and promoted these objects as “the highest point that has yet...
Image features a length of cotton fabric with rows of walnuts in irregular gray to brown multitones arranged in a grid on a black ground. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Innovating Printing
In his seminal 1976 book The Dyer’s Art, Jack Lenor Larsen wrote: “Without doubt one of the most successful combinations of innovation, craft and commerce in recent times has emanated from the various Tillett print studios.” From the 1950s through the 1970s, the husband-and-wife team of Doris Doctorow (D.D.) and Leslie Tillett designed and printed...
Image features a paper printed with cherry blossoms for use in fusuma, the sliding panels in Japanese homes. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this paper.
Falling Through Time
Lithe and resplendent, a maze of branches weaves its way across the composition of this lightly colored fusuma paper. In Japan, fusuma are sliding panels that can serve as walls or doors inside the home. Scattered along each bough are a multitude of delicately rendered flowers whose petals invite the eye to linger on their...