• Waistcoats

    The waistcoat, together with a long coat and breeches, formed the 18th century gentleman’s three-piece suit, or habit à la française. The waistcoats were often lavishly embroidered, and sometimes included topical references to political or cultural events. Also included here is a group of French embroidery samples intended for men's coats and waistcoats. Still in their original paper enclosures, their pristine condition has been preserved. This highlights 90 objects from our collection.

  • Soviet Porcelains from the Shapiro Collection

    In 1989, Cooper Hewitt acquired the Ludmilla and Henry Shapiro Collection of Soviet Porcelains. The Shapiros were news correspondents for the Western Press in Moscow between 1933 and 1973. Their porcelain collection opens a fascinating window onto the life, culture, and politics of the Soviet Union from the Bolshevik Revolution until the mid-1980s. This highlights 124 objects from our collection.

  • Rooms with a View: Landscape & Wallpaper

    Wallpaper can transport. The papers gathered here date to the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, and offer expansive vistas that are not only beautiful, but also essentially political. They capture period attitutes towards landscape and territory both home and abroad. This highlights 78 objects from our collection.

  • Reuse & Recycling

    In its current collecting practices, Cooper Hewitt promotes sustainability as a core element of design excellence. But designers and makers have re-used and recycled valuable materials for centuries. The collection includes historic examples like American patchwork and Japanese boro, as well as contemporary works in recycled post-consumer paper, plastic, and polyester, even new fashions made from discarded clothing. This highlights 41 objects from our collection.

  • Purses, Pouches, Pockets

    Most of the museum’s purses, pouches, and bags were collected for their exquisite embroidery and beadwork. They include 17th century gaming purses, 18th and 19th century letter cases, sewing bags, and so-called “miser’s purses,” a type of beaded net change purse carried inside a pocket or reticule. Pockets were formerly separate items worn under a woman’s skirt and accessed through a slit in the seam. This highlights 121 objects from our collection.

  • Posters for War and Peace

    In the twentieth century, the poster often served as a important mechanism for communicating political messages. Cooper Hewitt's collection includes, for example, posters issued in order to rally support for the American effort in both World Wars, anti-fascist imagery from the Spanish Civil War, Cold Ward posters encouraging peace, and more. This highlights 77 objects from our collection.

  • On the Move: 20th-century Transportation Design

    Where to? These 20th -century designs imagine ways to move our bodies and possesions through space. Some of the represented vehicles may look familiar. Others, however, explore such ambitious visions for the possibilities of transport that they remain futuristic even today. This highlights 78 objects from our collection.

  • Mexican Samplers

    Several styles of Mexican samplers are represented in the museum’s collection. Some have brightly colored bands of geometric designs from European and indigenous sources while others have isolated or spot motifs of flowers, animals, insects and human figures. More complex examples, like those made in urban convent schools, contain shaded, dimensional embroidery in silk and show a skilled handling of metallic thread. Inexpensive glass beads imported from Eastern Europe were widely used on samplers from the second half of the 19th century. This highlights 65 objects from our collection.

  • Donor Spotlight: Marian Hague

    Marian Hague (American, 1873–1971) was an avid collector of textiles from around the world, but she was most passionate about European lace and embroidery. She published many books on the subject, several with Frances Morris, textile curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hague also was a member of the Needle and Bobbin Club, a club founded in New York City that was comprised of important collectors and experts in lace and other types of needlework. Over her lifetime, she donated not only many fine examples of embroidery and lace the Cooper Hewitt, but also printed textiles by Stehli Silks, pre-Columbian Peruvian textiles, and indigenous garments from Mexico and Guatemala. This highlights 56 objects from our collection.

  • Designer Spotlight: Eva Zeisel

    Best known for her contributions to mid-century American modernist ceramics, Eva Zeisel was a prolific designer who worked in a variety of materials, preferring organic, fluid forms to severe geometries. Over the course of her 86-year career, an international roster of manufacturers commissioned her to create tableware, cutlery, furniture, and more. She started her career in ceramics in her native Hungary in 1925, taught ceramics as industrial design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn after emigrating to the US in 1937, and continued to “design useful things” right up to the time of her death at age 105 in 2011. Cooper Hewitt’s range of works along with examples of her preparatory drawings and prototypes offer a window into Zeisel’s creative process. This highlights 63 objects from our collection.

  • Brighton Pavilion: King George IV's Pleasure Palace

    In 1815, England's King George IV hired the architect John Nash to expand the Royal Pavilion at Brighton into an exotic pleasure palace. Nash engaged the decorator Frederick Crace to design the Pavilion's exotic Chinese- and Indian-inspired interiors. Cooper Hewitt is home to many of Crace's fabulous designs for the seaside palace (which can still be visited today), as well as sketches by Nash and letters documenting the project. This highlights 89 objects from our collection.

  • Watercolor Interiors from the Thaw Collection

    In 2007, Eugene and Clare Thaw generously donated to Cooper Hewitt their extraordinary collection of nineteeth-century watercolors. These drawings, carried out by both amateur and professional artists, present candid views of domestic spaces. At once intimate and refined, the Thaw Collection offers a unique look at the interior world of nineteenth-century Europe. This highlights 85 objects from our collection.