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.

Image features book cover of Silk Dyeing, printing and finishing by George H Hurst. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Technological Handbooks
The museum as “practical working laboratory” that sisters Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt envisioned for the study of the decorative arts, could not have been realized without the extensive collection of books and supporting materials found in the library at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Numerous books about process, such as the...
Image shows a landscape view around Paris. Please scroll down for a further description of this piece.
A View Around Paris
One lesser known area of the Cooper Hewitt’s collection are folding screens covered with wallpaper. Many of these contain panels from scenic wallpapers mounted on the face of the screen. Today’s object is an eight-panel folding screen containing a scene called Environs de Paris from the scenic paper titled “Jardín Baujon beí Neuílly.” This is...
Image features a French Romanesque church, drawn in graphite, with touches of watercolor to indicate the colors of rooftops, trees, etc. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Legacy of Beauty
Stanford White’s architectural legacy of beauty and sophistication is celebrated throughout New York City. Inspired by European architecture, White was a founder of the City Beautiful movement that spread across the country at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1878, as a young artist, White had traveled throughout Normandy and Belgium by train in...
Image features gilt bronze furniture mount in the form of a lyre made up of foliage and centered by a torch. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Shiny, Sturdy and Sophisticated
Gilt bronze furniture mounts have long been an element of decoration in French interiors. In addition to their use as ornament, they were highly functional. Their gilded surfaces added value and appeal to what would typically be a basic utilitarian purpose: protection for furniture. The mounts were generally fixed to the edges, corners, and feet...
Image features: New England autumn landscape with its fire engine-red barns, rustic wooden fences, billowing clouds, and white church steeples nestled among the distant trees. Burnt orange foliage decorates the sunny and bright rolling pastures. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
American Splendor
Author: Janice Shapiro Hussain Aptly titled “American Splendor”, this textile captures the quintessential glory of the New England autumn landscape with its fire engine-red barns, rustic wooden fences, billowing clouds, and white church steeples nestled among the distant trees. Burnt orange foliage decorates the sunny and bright rolling pastures, signaling the crisp autumn air. The...
Image shows a nursery wallpaper with images from different rhymes. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Rhyming around the Nursery
Gazing at this carefully organized menagerie surrounded by creatures of all sorts and softly, scrolling vines, this wallpaper entices our eyes to flit from scene to scene. In one section, we notice a spider looming next to a small girl and in the next a mischievous cat plays a fiddle. As this continues, we slowly...
Antiquely Augmented Reality
Today’s fascination with alternate and virtual realities can sometimes feel entirely contemporary, firmly grounded in the technological innovations of the digital age. However, the desire for devices that alter our perception has a long—and dazzling—history. A “peep-show” is a visual tool that captivates viewers by creating an impression of highly illusionistic space. Utilizing a clever...
Image features the cover of book, The Gorey Alphabet. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Gorey Alphabet
In the spirit of Halloween, a fun and spooky object in our library collection is a copy of The Gorey Alphabet  by Edward Gorey.  Edward Gorey (1925-2000), American writer and artist, child prodigy and high achiever has nestled his way into the hearts of those fond of dark themes, Victorian and Edwardian settings, and pen-and-ink drawings. The...
Image shows wallpaper printed with sun and moon motifs in tones of bright red. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
This Sun Never Sets
Just as burning curiosity turns our heads heavenwards to investigate the mysteries of the sky, this wallpaper seizes our gaze through its fiery appeal, beckoning us to contemplate it’s piercing reds and swirling repeats. Eerie but whimsical faces peer back at the viewer, each sun has a small grin in one moment and a perfectly...