Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color debuts at the Cooper Hewitt

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color debuted at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York, NY) in May 2018. The exhibition explores the elusive, complex phenomenon of color perception and how it has captivated artists, designers, scientists and philosophers for centuries. Featuring over 190 objects – 44 from Smithsonian Libraries’ collection – Saturated reveals how designers apply the theories of the world’s greatest color thinkers to bring order and excitement more »

Cooper Hewitt Pro-Seminar Series: Embracing ‘Phobia’

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.  Students select one work from the museum collection to study during this more »

Le Garde-Meuble and Parisian Interior Design

This post was written by Brittney Falter, a graduate student at George Mason University and social media intern at the Smithsonian Libraries. Le Garde-meuble, ancien et moderne (Furniture repository, ancient and modern), was a bimonthly periodical published in Paris between 1839 and 1935. It contained many illustrations of furniture designs and room settings, created by Desire Guilmard. His drawings featured both historical revivals and styles that were modern at the time. The more »

Tip of the hat to Gazette du Bon Ton

What better day to celebrate one of our favorite French fashion periodicals than January 15th – known in some corners of the internet as “National Hat Day”. In the pages of Gazette du Bon Ton, fantastic head adornments certainly abound:  

The Fix – Ein Wintermärchen, an Adopt-a-Book Story

  Ein Wintermärchen (a winter story) is a children’s book from our Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Library. The library holds an extensive collection of children’s books, around 2,000, with 1,200 being pop-up books. This particular volume came to the Book Conservation Lab through the Adopt-A-Book program.     The book is lavishly illustrated by Ernst Kreidolf, a well-known Swiss children’s book illustrator. Many of his books depict fairies and other mythical creatures, more »

Designing Women: The Hewitt Sisters and The Remaking of a Modern Museum (Part 2)

This is a two-part series on the Hewitt sisters. Read part one. By 1897, Sarah and Eleanor had collected enough to formally open their museum on the fourth floor of the Cooper Union. In the tradition of their grandfather, the Hewitt sisters wanted to actualize a museum and library that were not just a showcase, but also tools—places that students and designers could come to for reference and inspiration, then go out more »

Designing Women: The Hewitt Sisters and The Remaking of a Modern Museum (Part 1)

This is a two-part series on the Hewitt sisters. Deep in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library’s collection of rare books, one might be surprised to come across children’s illustrated books by Walter Crane and Beatrix Potter. Even more fascinating might be the origin of these tomes, for in this collection are the very books read by the founding sisters of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum: Sarah (Sallie) and Eleanor (Nellie) more »

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