about

The Object of the Week blog is written by Cooper Hewitt’s curators, graduate fellows, and contributing researchers and scholars. Posts are published every week and present research on an object from the museum’s collection. With over 210,000 objects spanning thirty centuries of decorative arts and design, Object of the Week explores the material culture of textiles, graphic design, furniture, products, architectural drawings, wallcoverings, and much more.

Image features a drawing of an altar in a neoclassical style, with architectural plan. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Surprise Victory for Robert Mylne
On September 23rd, 1758, an aspiring architect named Robert Mylne (1733 – 1811) wrote to his younger brother William (1734 – 1790) with astonishing news. At twenty-four years old, Robert had just become the first Briton awarded top prize in the Concorso Clementino, a famous architecture competition held every three years in Rome.[1] This drawing...
Image features a wallpaper panel showing yearbook portraits of teenage boys displayed in decorative oval frames surrounded by flowers on a bright rainbow-colored ground printed in fluorescent ink and black rayon flock. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Framing The Bullies
In celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, June Object of the Week posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection.  Bright-faced youths peer back at you from a vibrant web of floral foliage. But this wallpaper, titled Bullies, strikes a scornful tone. Multi-disciplinary artist Virgil Marti sourced the portraits seen in the wallpaper from his...
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...
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...
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,...
Image features a young girl sitting at a table with a tool in her hand, modeling a figurine in clay. She faces right, in profile. A potted plant or flower arrangement is on the table, at right. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Virginia Modeling
Jerome Myers always had a sketchbook close at hand. When weather prevented him from sketching city life in New York, he would turn instead to self-portraits or drawings of his family. In this sketch, the artist’s daughter—Virginia—sits at a table, making a small figurine out of clay. Born in Petersburg, Virginia, Myers moved with his...
This image features a book page showing illustrations and vignettes of characters, and objects in vibrant Day-Glo colors. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Strange Brew: Creating Fluorescent Pigments
Day-Glo® : a moniker describing shades of orange, pink, green, blue, and yellow so bright they seem almost incandescent. The Day-Glo® Designer’s Guide, a trade catalogue in the Cooper Hewitt National Design Library, was published in 1969 at the height of the psychedelic era. The catalogue celebrates Day-Glo® colors at the peak of their popularity with the...
Image features: Tablecloth with square and rectangular compartments containing whimsical scenes inspired by Mughal and Persian miniature paintings and book illustrations. Scenes include seated musician on a carpet surrounded by flowering trees and swans, elephants with howdahs strapped to their backs, riders on horseback with parasols, and figures seated in elaborate garden pavilions. Primarily in shades of green, blue and pink. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Poetic Tablecloth
This colorful tablecloth was designed by Marion Dorn Kauffer, an accomplished twentieth-century designer primarily known for her textiles and carpets. Designing across different media, she also created wallpapers, illustrations, and graphics. The printed pattern that decorates this tablecloth features a series of square and rectangular vignettes inspired by Mughal painted miniatures from India. The vignettes...
Image features an upright, rectangular poster featuring a motif of a stylized cross in blue, black and orange. At the center, a kneeling man holds a bow and arrow. Decorative motifs with Dutch wording are In each of the four corners of the cross. A roundel with the words, Bestaans zerkerheid, is at the top of the composition; above this are the words: RADEN van ARBEID in blue and orange. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Designer Takes Aim
In celebration of May Day—at a moment when the essential role so many workers play in our community is at the forefront of our minds—we are re-posting a modified version of this blog by Virginia McBride originally published November 8, 2015. Formerly a 2014 Peter Krueger curatorial intern, then a Curatorial Assistant, and Cataoguer in Cooper Hewitt’s...