Our Museum-The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

A knitted purse from Germany dated from 1814-1840. Read about it here.

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is part of our wonderful national treasure, the Smithsonian Institution. The Cooper-Hewitt is America’s design museum and–good news!–it is becoming easily accessible to students of design worldwide. Recently, the Cooper-Hewitt began displaying its collection on the Internet. 

At this time (Fall, 2012) nearly 60% of the collection is up. That is a lot of significant design, ladies and gentlemen.

This effort by the museum to make the collection accessible is an Internet Alpha program–which means there may be a few glitches yet in the presentation. Rather than waiting for everything to work smoothly, and keeping access limited, they went ahead with open access to the public. While they continue to work out possible bugs, you might end up at some dead ends. So far, I haven’t.

Works may be viewed by media, countries, artists, periods, or just at random. It’s like a huge Pinterest of beautiful things quite likely to inspire–so be careful! I think this site is a lot of fun: there’s such a bounty of fascinating things. But having said that, it does takes a little work to navigate the site. Things aren’t listed like Google Images. 
Perhaps the easiest way, and for me feels like my daily-cup-of-design, is the Cooper-Hewitt “Object Of The Day”. I am hooked. “Object Of The Day” is not a blog, so it needs to be bookmarked on your browser. If you miss a day or two, no biggie. All objects are in a chronological list to make catch up easy. At the end of the page, there’s a way to sign up for their design newsletter.
A Sampling From The Cooper-Hewitt

These are just a few that I really liked. I am sure you will find many of your own. Two notes: many of the objects are “sleeping,” which means that they are resting in storage and not on view for the visiting public. So for most of us, the only way to appreciate them is virtually over the Internet. Also, these objects are from all over the world. We can be inspired by numerous cultures from about any century. 

Woman’s gloves from Spain-dated circa 1800-1829. Read about them here.

A Japanese tea ceremony rug dated from the late 19th century.
It is tie-dyed felted wool.
Read about it here.


Modern bobbin lace circa 1982. Read about it here.

Drawings by Joseph Hoffman for a textile called ‘Ozone,” dated 1923.
Read about it here.

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