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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 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...
Image features a white plastic chair molded in the form of a circular basket-type seat of flat branch-like elements on four thin cylindrical legs. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Vegetal Chair
In the mid-2000s, designers (and brothers) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, came up with the concept of a chair that would “sprout up like a plant…with its branches gently curving up to form the seat and back.” They also took inspiration from historical seating, such as English cast iron garden benches, American chairs in the rustic...
Image features a poster showing three zones of color set against a white background. Text is featured in contrasting white or black within the areas of color. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Transcending Advertising
Herbert Bayer first became involved with Container Corporation of America (CCA) when Walter Paepcke, at the suggestion of his wife Elizabeth, began commissioning advertisements from avant-garde artists and designers, advocating for a collaborative relationship between art and industry. After completing several innovative advertisements, Bayer designed an exhibition for CCA in 1945 titled “Modern Art in...
Image features a wallpaper showing a wave motif, with every second swell containing a fish. Printed in blue, black, tan and red on off-white ground. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Something Fishy for Your Walls
This post was originally published on August 16, 2014. The Curwen Press got its start in east London in 1863 as a music publisher. The scope of the business expanded and in 1920 began including book publishing and artist prints. It was at this time that the Curwen Press made contact with the Royal College...
Image features a bookmark or stevengraph with a portrait medallion of Abraham Lincoln surmounted by an eagle perched on a shield flag that holds a banner in its beak that reads "E Pluribus Unum." Inscription at top reads: "Assassinated at Washington 14 April 1865," and just below another inscription: "I have said nothing but what I am willing to live by. And if it be the pleasure of Almighty God. To die by. (A Lincoln). Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Lincoln Bookmark
This post was originally published on July 26, 2018. Stevengraphs are small woven pictures that depict famous buildings, historical events, iconic scenes, and prominent public figures such as members of royal families, politicians and athletes. They were produced by Thomas Stevens (English, 1828–1888), a Coventry weaver who customized the jacquard loom to produce small detailed...
Image features a slim blue band, rectangular in section, coiled to fit around the wrist. There is a zig-zag pattern on the rubber surface, a thin metal cap at one end, and a metal strip with the word "JAWBONE" at the other. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
UP 24/7
Author: Carolyn Herrera-Perez With changes in digital technology occurring so rapidly, the discreet design of this  wearable fitness tracker may well be forgotten in the coming years. In production from only 2011 to 2014, the Jawbone UP tracked the wearer’s steps, workouts, and sleep rhythms. An innovative product, it was the first fitness tracker styled...
Image features a broad view of landscape, rendered in lush tones of green and blue. A river cuts through the center of the image, and a figure on horseback appears at the lower right. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Between Constantin and Nogales
The Reverend William Bradford traveled with his sketchbook. Not much else is known about Bradford, who served as a British Army chaplain in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War (1807 – 1814). In that conflict, British troops joined Spanish forces in their resistance to Napoleon. As Reverend Bradford accompanied his fellow British soldiers across...