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 small circular box and lid with printed abstract geometric decoration in olive green, yellow, red and black; the words "ODESSA” (in red), “FOOD. TRUST (in black)" printed on the side of the lid, in English. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Revolutionary Women, Revolutionary Design
Throughout March, Object of the Week celebrates Women’s History Month. Each Monday a new post will highlight women designers in the collection. In the tumultuous years following the 1917 Russian Revolution, a vibrant flourishing of avant-garde art emerged. Artists and designers embraced the most utopian hopes of the revolutionary spirit. They searched for new aesthetic...
Image features an angelic figure facing frontally, in red-orange robe. Head indicated only through graphite sketch. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Anonymous was a Woman
Throughout March, Object of the Week celebrates Women’s History Month. Each Monday a new post will highlight women designers in the collection. This unfinished angelic figure was likely a design for stained glass. Louise Howland King Cox designed windows for Louis Comfort Tiffany in the 1890s. However, there are few extant records about her work...
Image features a wallpaper illustrating the history of the locomotive, in a repeat of scattered drawings of locomotives and railway trains in orange, gray, and yellow, accompanied by the dates 1830, 1870, and 1935. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Train History on the Wall
Welcome to the Object of the Week blog. This March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, each Monday a new post will highlight women designers in the collection. This wallpaper called Transportation traces the history of the railroad from 1830 to about 1938. The designer, Mary Louise Leake, was inspired to create this design after...
Image features the cover of the 1905 Yamanaka & Co. furnishings trade catalogue covered in green and gold silk brocade and bound on the left with gold silk threads. A vertical rectangular white paper panel with Japanese characters is in the center of the cover. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Japonisme à l’extrème
  This 1905 furniture trade catalog in the  Cooper Hewitt Design Library  is from the renowned Japanese art and antiques firm of Yamanaka & Co. Covered in silk brocade and bound with silk threads according to the ancient Japanese bookbinding technique of Yotsume Toji or stab-binding, it contains 36 photographic plates of elaborately carved, gilded,...
Image shows a dado panel containing a dense, lush flower bed. Please scroll down for additional information on this piece.
Always Summer in the Winter Garden
For the past couple days, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a French scholar doing research on the Parisian wallpaper manufacturer Jules Desfosse and later, Desfosse & Karth. We went through the museum holdings of wallpapers by this design firm and saw some really beautiful pieces. Jardin d’Hiver stands out as one of the...
Image features a two handled ovoid vase with a lusterware glaze, ornamented in resist copper-colored decoration. Surface decoration consists of two heraldic lions along with foliage and twining vines. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Once Upon a Time in Lancashire
At moments of dramatic social and cultural change a reflection on the past, or, better put, a past reimagined and romanticized, often offers a path of cathartic escape. Such was the case as Great Britain was transforming rapidly under the effects of modernization during the nineteenth century. The expansion of global communications and transportation, acceleration...
Image features a woven textile that serves as a commemorative of the US centennial while promoting the textile manufacturer Pacific Mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Woven in black and cream, the composition has a bold graphic quality and depicts a broadly soaring eagle over a large modern factory enclosed in curvilinear frame. In between each factory is a plaque identifying the Treasurer, Agent and Selling Agent of the business. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Centennial Showpiece
This woven textile by Pacific Mills serves as a commemorative of the 1876 US Centennial while also promoting the textile manufacturer from Lawrence, Massachusetts – one of the largest textile producers in the Western Hemisphere during the nineteenth century. Woven in black and cream, the unusual composition has a bold graphic quality and depicts a...
Image features a colorful drawing showing a vertical view of the listing bow of a boat with a broken mast, among swelling waves. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Blood in the Water
Author: Laura Fravel Related to his trip to the Bahamas, this watercolor by Winslow Homer is a study for The Gulf Stream, a painting in which a shipwrecked man lies on a battered fishing boat as sharks circle in the water. Focusing on the boat, this watercolor sets the stage for the action of the...
Image features a white polyester suede with stripes of organic "inkblots" in greens and pinks. Design scanned from a hand-stitched and shibori-dyed silk. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Shibori Stripe
One of the greatest challenges in designing commercial textiles has been creating durable, cleanable, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing fabrics for highly trafficked and 24/7 environments like healthcare facilities, theaters and airports. In addition, there is more demand for textiles with sustainable manufacturing practices, and companies like Designtex are taking on this responsibility and producing some...