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Tag: Cooper-Hewitt Library

Cooper Hewitt Pro-Seminar Series IV: Luigi Colani ponders the Big Bang

This post was contributed by Evelyn Meynard, graduate student in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program offered jointly by the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and Elizabeth Broman, Reference Librarian, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library

All incoming students in The New School Parsons History of Design and Curatorial Studies (MA) Masters’ Degree Program at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum take an object and research based class called Pro-Seminar. This course trains students in conducting formal analyses, writing catalog entries, and making visual presentations that require students to conduct and integrate primary and secondary source research. The Cooper Hewitt Library regularly collaborates with faculty and students, providing research resources, curriculum consultation and Special Collections presentations for classes.  Selecting  one work from the Cooper-Hewitt collection to study during the semester, that ”work” can be a book from the Cooper Hewitt Design Library presented by staff during curatorial orientations.

Cooper Hewitt Pro-Seminar Series: a 3-D Winter Scene

This post was contributed by Olivia Grochmal, graduate student in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program offered jointly by the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and Elizabeth Broman, Reference Librarian, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library

This image features Individual cut-out plates of Winter Scene by Martin Engelbrecht displayed in a viewing stand.
Individual cut-out plates of Winter Scene by Martin Engelbrecht displayed in a viewing stand.

All incoming students in The New School Parsons History of Design and Curatorial Studies (MA) Masters’ Degree Program at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum take an object and research-based class called Pro-Seminar. Students learn to conduct formal analyses of objects, write catalog entries, and prepare visual presentations that require students to incorporate primary and secondary source research.  Students select one object from the museum collection to study during this class, that ”object” can be a book from the Cooper Hewitt Design Library presented by staff during curatorial orientations. 

Terrific Textiles: Tasteful Turbans

Written by Jessica Masinter. She is an intern in the Cooper Hewitt Library and a literary studies major at Middlebury College.

“Turbans. Plain and Colored.” Taken from Watson’s explanatory book, “Textile Manufactures and the Costumes of The People of India.”

This follow up blog to “The Textile Thief and the Great British Manufacturers,” focuses on Watson’s samples of turban pieces and their significance in India in the mid-1800s. When J. Forbes Watson was collecting samples for his collection Textile Manufactures of India, turbans were worn almost universally throughout India. In Watson’s companion book to his sample collection, entitled Textile Manufactures and the Costumes of the People of India, he recorded his observations on the uses and styles of turbans, paying particular attention to the way beauty and utility combined in the designs.

The Textile Thief and the Great British Manufacturers

Written by Jessica Masinter. She is a summer intern in the Cooper Hewitt Library and a literary studies major at Middlebury College.

(L): Textile sample No. 464 from “Textile Fabrics of India, second series, Volume 9, Mushroos and Imroos.” Main sample measures 19x10cm. “For Examination of Texture” sample square measures 4x4cm. (R): Textile sample No. 972 from “Textile Fabrics of India, second series, Volume 17, Cotton.” Main sample measures 19x10cm. “For Examination of Texture” sample square measures 4x4cm.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Indian textiles were the height of quality. Their exotic patterns, brilliant colors and dye fastness drove customer appeal among the English bourgeoisie to the point where India was considered by some to be the industrial workshop of the world. British textile manufacturers desperately tried to produce fabrics and patterns that imitated Indian textiles, attempting to ‘cash in’ on the in-demand designs. To do so, however, the British manufacturers required an in-depth knowledge of Indian textiles—and J. Forbes Watson was just the man to help.

1964: Fountains, Fireworks, Fifty Years Ago – a World’s Fair

World's Fair steel replica of the planet earth
Unisphere, by day and by night, at the 1964-65 New York World’s fair. New York World’s Fair 1964-1965 Corporation. Official souvenir book of the New York World’s Fair, 1965. West Nyack, N.Y.: Dexter Press, c1965. Smithsonian Libraries. T786 1964 .C1

 

The Cooper-Hewitt Library has a large collection of over 2,000 World’s fair catalogues and books. Many are the official guidebooks that visitors could purchase with descriptions of pavilions and that helped locate sights and other points of interest. As a teenager, my mother had loved the 1939 World’s fair, so that when it came to New York City again in 1964-65, she wanted to see another World’s fair and have us children experience the same excitement and wonder.