Cooper Hewitt

Cooper Hewitt Located in New York City, Cooper Hewitt is the nation's only museum dedicated exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design.
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After a three-year renovation, the museum re-opened in December 2014 with exhibitions featuring a rich mix of historic and contemporary design objects from our permanent collection, unique temporary installations, and dynamic interactive experiences. We also have an exciting calendar of events, including hands-on workshops, talks, and family programs. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum monitors and may remove posts consistent with the Smithsonian's terms of use. The Smithsonian may also archive materials posted on this website pursuant to its document retention policies. By posting content, you are giving the Smithsonian and those authorized by the Smithsonian permission to use or modify it for any educational, promotional, or other standard museum purpose, in media of all kinds whether now known or later developed. Please see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use: http://si.edu/termsofuse for more information.

In the early 1930s, the General Motors Art and Colour division was emerging as the most innovative hub of automotive sty...
08/10/2020
A Stylist Ahead of His Time | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

In the early 1930s, the General Motors Art and Colour division was emerging as the most innovative hub of automotive stylists.

William McBride was a young man living in Chicago’s South Side, dreaming of fanciful and futuristic cars. As a boy, he “spent sixteen years learning how to design automobiles, to make them real. Cars on the street today are some of the designs that I designed,” McBride would later recall in an oral history interview with the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.

What drawings remain known of McBride’s car concepts feature bold color choices and ultramodern elements. The drawing shown here from Cooper Hewitt’s collection features a streamlined, elongated hood and chrome crosshatched components that draw the eye back from the front wheel well, suggesting speed even with the car shown at a standstill.

In the early 1930s, the General Motors Art and Colour division was emerging as the most innovative hub of automotive stylists. William McBride was a young man living in Chicago’s South Side, dreaming of fanciful and futuristic cars. As a boy, he “spent sixteen years learning how to design automo...

Andy Warhol was born on this day in 1928.Inspired by the Reversals Series of paintings Warhol began making in 1979, this...
08/06/2020
Marilyn Monroe on a Roll, Literally | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Andy Warhol was born on this day in 1928.

Inspired by the Reversals Series of paintings Warhol began making in 1979, this wallpaper designed by Flavor Paper in collaboration with the Warhol Foundation would add drama to any room.

Featuring the familiar image of Marilyn Monroe this wallpaper is drama on a roll, and another recent acquisition to the museum’s permanent collection. Working with the Warhol Foundation, Flavor Paper was able to sort through original Warhol documents to find inspiration for an exciting collection ...

“One of the most promising newcomers in the highly competitive field of fabric design is a youthful, multi-talented New ...
08/05/2020
Glen Plaid | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

“One of the most promising newcomers in the highly competitive field of fabric design is a youthful, multi-talented New Yorker, Joel Robinson,” Ebony magazine proclaimed in 1952.

Robinson’s printed fabric Ovals had been shown that winter in The Museum of Modern Art’s 1951 Good Design exhibition, making him the first African American to be included in the influential exhibition series, an achievement acknowledged in the multi-page article in Ebony. Jet magazine also covered the groundbreaking nature of his inclusion.

When the exhibition series ended in 1955, Robinson remained unique in this distinction.

At the time, Robinson was a 29-year-old native New Yorker working as a graphic designer in the advertising industry, first for pharmaceutical advertising agency William Douglas McAdams, and later as creative director and executive vice president at the David D. Polon Advertising Agency.

His celebrated fabric was produced by L. Anton Maix Fabrics. Maix was noted for his innovative collections of prints for the modern interior, often created in collaboration with artists and designers from other fields, including architect Serge Chermayeff, graphic designers Paul Rand and Alvin Lustig, industrial designer George Nelson, and furniture designers Jens Risom and Paul McCobb. After the success of Ovals, Maix introduced two Ovals variations and three additional designs by Robinson as part of his Kaleidoscope collection: Roman Candles, Honeycomb, and Glen Plaid, a fine linear design of interlocking bands of narrow rectangles in brown, yellow and red. A swatch book from the New York shop of Georg Jensen, also in the museum’s collection, includes Glen Plaid and other designs from the Kaleidoscope collection, illustrating the type of modern, design-forward retailer that promoted Maix’s fabrics.

“One of the most promising newcomers in the highly competitive field of fabric design is a youthful, multi-talented New Yorker, Joel Robinson,” Ebony magazine proclaimed in 1952. Robinson’s printed fabric Ovals had been shown that winter in The Museum of Modern Art’s 1951 Good Design exhibit...

This Hubert H. Humphrey “signature scarf” fabric was designed for Humphrey’s 1968 presidential campaign by Frankie Welch...
08/03/2020
Signature Scarf | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

This Hubert H. Humphrey “signature scarf” fabric was designed for Humphrey’s 1968 presidential campaign by Frankie Welch (a.k.a. Mary Frances Barnett), a textile and fashion designer as well as personal shopper and boutique owner.

When her husband’s new position at the CIA first brought the Welch family to Washington, DC area in the 1950s, Frankie taught home economics and began her first workshops on how to shop and develop a personal style. Her clients were mainly the wives of Washington-area politicians.

In 1963, she opened a shop, Frankie Welch of Virginia. She stocked the store with clothing and accessories from her favorite designers as well as attractive, quality pieces without designer names.

A signature item was the popular “Frankie” dress – a garment she designed in 1960 that had a simple silhouette in two lengths, and that could be worn eight different ways. Her own scarves became an important part of the store’s décor.

This Hubert H. Humphrey “signature scarf” fabric was designed for Humphrey’s 1968 presidential campaign by Frankie Welch (a.k.a. Mary Frances Barnett), a textile and fashion designer as well as personal shopper and boutique owner. When her husband's new position at the CIA first brought the We...

For architect and designer Alvar Aalto (Finnish, 1898–1976), lighting functioned as one of many integrated components th...
07/30/2020
Aura of Light | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

For architect and designer Alvar Aalto (Finnish, 1898–1976), lighting functioned as one of many integrated components that could transform people’s surroundings.

He initially designed many of his lamps for specific building projects, then went on to mass-produce them for the general consumer market.

The model A331 hanging lamp, originally designed by Aalto in 1953 as part of the furnishings program for his buildings for the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, is one example.

“A lamp… always part of an environment…. When working on… public building, I noticed that such furnishings and appliances were necessary to create the right unity, and then I designed them. The fact that later on they can also fit in another environment is another story.” Lighting had beco...

The publisher J.M. Dent was an admirer of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, founded in 1889 and known for expensive, lav...
07/26/2020
A Defiant Knight | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The publisher J.M. Dent was an admirer of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, founded in 1889 and known for expensive, lavish publications featuring illustrations and decorations by artists such as Edward Burne-Jones printed from hand-cut woodblocks.

Dent conceived the idea of producing books in the style of the Kelmscott Press but at a much lower cost, deciding to make use of the new photomechanical line-block process for reproduction rather than working from woodblocks, which was both expensive and laborious.

In an effort to capitalize on the popularity of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s long poem about Arthurian legends, The Idylls of the King (1859-85), as well as numerous paintings on the subject by artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt, Dent embarked on a project to publish a new edition of Thomas Malory’s beloved chivalric romance Le Morte D’Arthur, first published by William Caxton in 1485. In order to achieve his goal of producing a beautiful book that could be sold at a competitive trade price, he required an illustrator who was talented and capable enough to complete a large number of designs, but not so established and respected that a large fee would be necessary for the project.

Dent was instantly taken with Beardsley’s work, writing later in his memoirs that he “instinctively felt that here was a new breath of life in English black-and-white drawing.”

The publisher J.M. Dent was an admirer of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, founded in 1889 and known for expensive, lavish publications featuring illustrations and decorations by artists such as Edward Burne-Jones printed from hand-cut woodblocks. Dent conceived the idea of producing books in the...

Small enough to hold in one’s palm and ornate enough to catch the eye of a passerby, this snuffbox is a combination of e...
07/23/2020
The Subtle and Stylish Sophistication of the Snuffbox | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Small enough to hold in one’s palm and ornate enough to catch the eye of a passerby, this snuffbox is a combination of exquisite craftsmanship and subtle status symbol, as such containers often were in 18th-century Europe. The box is attributed to Johann Martin Heinrici, a Swiss artisan who worked at the famed Meissen porcelain factory before moving to Frankenthal, where he likely created this particular piece.

Tiny, carefully inlaid mother-of-pearl fragments are arranged to depict a nude male figure—likely Cupid, with small wings and a golden arrow in hand—amid chased and inlaid gold scrollwork and grapevines. The snuffbox projects a sense of sophistication, offering a glimpse of glittering opulence as it is slipped out of or into a pocket.

Small enough to hold in one’s palm and ornate enough to catch the eye of a passerby, this snuffbox is a combination of exquisite craftsmanship and subtle status symbol, as such containers often were in 18th-century Europe. The box is attributed to Johann Martin Heinrici, a Swiss artisan who worked...

Spike Lee’s 1992 classic film, Malcolm X, depicts the life and impact of the radical African-American activist. The post...
07/20/2020
A Radical ‘X’ | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Spike Lee’s 1992 classic film, Malcolm X, depicts the life and impact of the radical African-American activist. The poster for the movie was designed by Art Sims, who had previously created the artwork for Mo’ Better Blues (1990) and Jungle Fever (1991), two other Spike Lee joints. Past works by Sims display his affinity for photography, yet the typographic campaign for Malcolm X was a departure from this tendency as well as from tropes of 90s Hollywood film posters, both formally and conceptually.

Author: Jerome Harris Spike Lee's 1992 classic film, Malcolm X, depicts the life and impact of the radical African-American activist. The poster for the movie was designed by Art Sims, who had previously created the artwork for Mo' Better Blues (1990) and Jungle Fever (1991), two other Spike Lee joi...

A pioneering example of psychedelic design, this work was one of the 56 posters that Wes Wilson produced between 1966 an...
07/16/2020
Deliberately Disorienting | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

A pioneering example of psychedelic design, this work was one of the 56 posters that Wes Wilson produced between 1966 and 1968 for the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.

The posters were commissioned by the rock concert promoter Bill Graham, who gave Wilson free rein over his designs until disputes about money severed their connection. Created for a concert featuring Otis Rush & His Chicago Blues Band, Grateful Dead, and the Canned Heat Blues Band, the poster displays many characteristics associated with psychedelic design—a dense, crowded composition, sinuous lines, swirling shapes and letterforms, and sensual, bizarre imagery.

Although the incorporation of pale pink and grey (rather than bright, intense shades) is somewhat unusual for the style, the economical use of color is typical of psychedelic poster design.

A pioneering example of psychedelic design, this work was one of the 56 posters that Wes Wilson produced between 1966 and 1968 for the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. The posters were commissioned by the rock concert promoter Bill Graham, who gave Wilson free rein over his designs until disput...

Some combs are used to groom hair, others to embellish and hold it in place. This decorative lady’s hair comb dates from...
07/15/2020
The Tortoise in the Hair | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Some combs are used to groom hair, others to embellish and hold it in place. This decorative lady’s hair comb dates from the nineteenth century. By the 1830s, the austere, classically inspired Empire or Regency fashions popular since about 1795 had been supplanted by exuberant gowns sporting large sleeves and broad skirts. Hairstyles changed in accordance with the fashion. The stylish woman, who formerly drew her hair back into a simple tight bun accentuated by a few demure side curls, now braided, teased, and lacquered her hair into an elaborate coiffeur, often with an immense topknot. Long luxurious hair, whether plaited or piled high, was considered a mark of feminine beauty throughout the rest of the century. The glossy surface of this tortoiseshell comb, with its delicate carved filigree decoration along its edges, would have provided a rich looking finishing touch.

A version of this post was originally published on September 22, 2015. Some combs are used to groom hair, others to embellish and hold it in place. This decorative lady’s hair comb dates from the nineteenth century. By the 1830s, the austere, classically inspired Empire or Regency fashions popular...

Do you have money on your mind today? 🤑💸💰 Ten Thousand Cents is a crowdsourced digital project that combines thousands o...
07/15/2020
Ten Thousand Cents | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Do you have money on your mind today? 🤑💸💰

Ten Thousand Cents is a crowdsourced digital project that combines thousands of individual drawings to create a representation of a $100 bill.

Designers Aaron Koblin and Takashi Kawashima divided a high-resolution scan of a $100 bill into 10,000 equal parts and posted the pieces to Amazon Mechanical Turk, a distributed labor tool launched in 2005.

Workers (known colloquially as turkers) were offered $.01 to duplicate each piece using a custom Flash-based drawing tool, for a total labor cost of 10,000 cents. Turkers worked anonymously without knowledge of the overall task. Their drawings were collected over a 5-month period (November 2007 – March 2008) from 51 countries.

The collective result is a realistic rendering of a $100 bill, created for $100.

Ten Thousand Cents is a crowdsourced digital project that combines thousands of individual drawings to create a representation of a $100 bill. Designers Aaron Koblin and Takashi Kawashima divided a high-resolution scan of a $100 bill into 10,000 equal parts and posted the pieces to Amazon Mechanical...

07/13/2020
Design at Home: Design a Repeating Pattern

In our newest Design at Home video lesson, learn about Suzie Zuzek, a prolific textile designer whose whimsical, colorful patterns helped transform Lilly Pulitzer into an iconic fashion brand.

Then, get inspired by nature to create your own repeating pattern!

In this video, get inspired by the colorful, nature-inspired textile designs of textile designer Suzie Zuzek, then learn how to make your own repeating patte...

The Videosphere portable television is one of the late twentieth century’s most iconic electronic devices. Manufactured ...
07/12/2020
One Small TV Set for Man, One Giant Leap for Pop Culture | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The Videosphere portable television is one of the late twentieth century’s most iconic electronic devices.

Manufactured by JVC from 1970 through the early 1980s, it renders the postwar preoccupation with space exploration in plastic and acrylic—modern materials perfectly suited to the Videosphere’s cosmic aesthetic. The TV was designed to be versatile and mobile: it rotates 360° on its square pedestal for viewing from any angle, and the chain at the top allows it to be mounted from the ceiling or hand-carried from one location to another. Additionally, the device could be powered by a cord plugged into an outlet or, when used remotely (one advertisement suggested bringing the set to the beach, for instance), by a rechargeable battery.

The Videosphere portable television is one of the late twentieth century’s most iconic electronic devices. Manufactured by JVC from 1970 through the early 1980s, it renders the postwar preoccupation with space exploration in plastic and acrylic—modern materials perfectly suited to the Videospher...

IB Andersen (Danish, 1907-1969) was barely out of school when he designed this poster to promote the 1929 exhibition of ...
07/10/2020
A Breakout Beginning | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

IB Andersen (Danish, 1907-1969) was barely out of school when he designed this poster to promote the 1929 exhibition of Buildings and Homes in Copenhagen, Denmark. The exhibition was a significant one, as it featured a built model of the “House of the Future,” as designed by Arne Jacobsen (Danish, 1902-71) and Flemming Lassen (Danish, 1902-1984).

IB Andersen (Danish, 1907-1969) was barely out of school when he designed this poster to promote the 1929 exhibition of Buildings and Homes in Copenhagen, Denmark. The exhibition was a significant one, as it featured a built model of the "House of the Future," as designed by Arne Jacobsen (Danish, 1...

Be the reason the Smithsonian is able to reach and empower teachers, students, and lifelong learners everywhere. #Suppor...
07/08/2020
Donate Today | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Be the reason the Smithsonian is able to reach and empower teachers, students, and lifelong learners everywhere. #SupportYourSmithsonian today. cooperhewitt.org/donate

Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to Cooper Hewitt during this unprecedented time. With your important support, Cooper Hewitt creates opportunities for everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world. Donors of gifts of $750 or above are recognized in our a...

This silk embroidery, titled “Colonel and Mrs. Lindbergh’s Flights – 1931 – 1933 – 1937,” is an extraordinary take on th...
07/08/2020
Flight Adventures Stitched in Time | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

This silk embroidery, titled “Colonel and Mrs. Lindbergh’s Flights – 1931 – 1933 – 1937,” is an extraordinary take on the tradition of the map sampler.

Embroidered lines in blue, gray, and red trace the routes that Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh took on a few of their 1930s flights: in 1931, across Canada to Japan and China; in 1933, the North and South Atlantic; and in 1937, across Europe to India. The 1931 and 1933 trips were exploratory, testing out potential commercial air routes.

The 1937 flight, by all accounts, was a vacation trip, a (relatively) quick jaunt from their home in England to India. These intricate zigzagging lines link two women – the embroiderer and the aviatrix — who, in very different spheres, pushed back some of the constraints of their day faced in how they lived their lives.

It also leaves us with some unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable, questions.

Author: Madelyn Shaw This silk embroidery, titled “Colonel and Mrs. Lindbergh’s Flights – 1931 – 1933 – 1937,” is an extraordinary take on the tradition of the map sampler. Embroidered lines in blue, gray, and red trace the routes that Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh took on a few of t...

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2 E 91st St
New York, NY
10128

Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5, and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street Stations), and Fifth and Madison Avenue buses.

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Monday 10:00 - 18:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 20:00
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Saturday 10:00 - 18:00
Sunday 10:00 - 18:00

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About Us

Cooper Hewitt is America’s design museum. Inclusive, innovative and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, education programs, master’s program, publications and online resources inspire, educate and empower people through design. An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum and research complex—Cooper Hewitt is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the historic, landmark Carnegie Mansion. Steward of one of the world’s most diverse and comprehensive design collections—over 210,000 objects that range from an ancient Egyptian faience cup dating to about 1100 BCE to contemporary 3D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world. Cooper Hewitt knits digital into experiences to enhance ideas, extend reach beyond museum walls, and enable greater access, personalization, experimentation and connection. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum monitors and may remove posts consistent with the Smithsonian's terms of use. The Smithsonian may also archive materials posted on this website pursuant to its document retention policies. By posting content, you are giving the Smithsonian and those authorized by the Smithsonian permission to use or modify it for any educational, promotional, or other standard museum purpose, in media of all kinds whether now known or later developed. Please see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use: http://si.edu/termsofuse for more information.