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Month: June 2012

Welcome CHNDM Library Summer Intern, Eleanor Peters

Eleanor Peters at The National Design Library
Eleanor Peters at The National Design Library

My name is Eleanor Peters and I’m the 2012 Peter A. Krueger Summer Intern at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library. I recently graduated from Middlebury College where I studied Art History and Anthropology. Growing up in New York City, I was a frequent patron of the New York Public Libraries. On any given weekend I could be found maxing out my library card with books about everything from Egyptian hieroglyphs to the ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef. Since then I have always had a love of books and a great appreciation for libraries and book preservation. From my own experiences, whether reading for leisure or doing research for my senior thesis this past spring, libraries have been invaluable resources and centers of boundless learning. Therefore I am excited to spend 10 weeks working with my supervisor, Reference Librarian Elizabeth Broman, to learn what happens behind the scenes at the National Design Library.

Ai Weiwei at the Hirshhorn

patron reading book
A Hirshhorn patron perusing our Zodiac Head’s catalog

Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads has been a popular attraction at the Hirshhorn since its arrival in April. Surrounding the fountain in the center of the Hirshhorn, the zodiac heads have an interactive appeal as viewers pose for pictures in front of their zodiac animal. Much like Western astrological signs, the Chinese zodiac signs also have specific characteristics and traits assigned to them – both good and bad.  A person’s zodiac symbol was (and is) culturally significant in many parts of Asia, where a person’s zodiac sign is sometimes seriously considered when entering a relationship.

This cultural significance is something that Ai Weiwei likes to utilize in many of his works to communicate his messages, often indicated by referencing objects that are almost synonymous with Chinese traditions and values.

A Look Back at Barber Shops

Kochs' Gold Medal Hydraulic Barbers' Chair, No. 25
Kochs' Gold Medal Hydraulic Barbers' Chair, No. 25

Has a red, white, and blue pole near a store ever caught your eye?  It’s happened to me.  I see the red, white, and blue pole but I don’t need to look at the sign.  I know it means there must be a barber shop behind that window.

We might be familiar with how barber shops looked later in the twentieth century.  But what were they like in the first decade of the twentieth century?  What did barber shop furniture look like over a hundred years ago?  This trade catalog by Theo. A. Kochs Co. gives us the chance to go back to 1903 for a glimpse into barber shops of the past.