Upcoming Exhibitions

Black and white photograph of a group of students in a room studying different styles of textiles.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE: 18TH-CENTURY DESIGN ON THE MOVE
Opens January 28, 2022

Drawing from the permanent collection, this exhibition explores the unprecedented circulation of labor, skills, aesthetics, and luxury goods across international borders in the 18th century. It traces the movement of people, ideas, and objects across borders, challenging notions of foreign and domestic, community member and outcast, and national style.

Foreign Exchange: 18th-Century Design on the Move is made possible with generous support from the Esme Usdan Exhibition Endowment Fund. Additional support is provided by the Cooper Hewitt Master’s Program Fund.

SARAH & ELEANOR HEWITT: DESIGNING A MODERN MUSEUM
Opens february 4, 2022

When Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt, Cooper Hewitt’s founders, formally opened the Museum for the Arts of Decoration at Cooper Union in 1897, they laid the groundwork for an active space for design education in the United States. This exhibition—through archival photography and documents, personal drawings and correspondence, news clippings and ephemera—chronicles the colorful lives and contributions of the dynamic sisters. Visitors will come to know Sarah and Eleanor as educators, collectors, and philanthropists and learn how their vision continues to influence Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum today.

This exhibition marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Cooper Union museum and celebrates the Smithsonian Institution’s 175th year.

Sarah & Eleanor Hewitt: Designing a Modern Museum is made possible with generous support from the Masinter Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Cooper Hewitt Master’s Program Fund.

SOPHIA CROWNFIELD: DRAWN FROM NATURE
Opens february 4, 2022

The name Sophia Crownfield (American, 1862-1929) is probably an unfamiliar one to most people, despite her evident talent and demonstrated success in her field. From the 1890s through the 1920s, Crownfield designed textiles and wallpapers for some of the country’s most prominent firms, including the silk manufacturer Cheney Brothers and wallpaper producer M.H. Birge & Company. Like many women designers of that period, she received little official acknowledgement of her work. Yet it is a testament to her talent and business acumen that she was allowed to patent several of her designs jointly with Cheney Brothers between 1905 and 1916. This exhibition will present drawings, textiles, and other related material from the museum’s collection.

Sophia Crownfield: Drawn from Nature received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.
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Featured Image: Students studying textiles from J. P. Morgan gift in the Cooper Union Museum galleries, 1925; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum