• Italian Renaissance Designs for the Decorative Arts

    Since the Renaissance, drawing has been the primary means of creating design; whereby eye, hand, and mind act in concert to transform ideas into physical form. The drawings that result provide an important record of the design process. Today, the computer provides a different means of design production; yet the designer's vision and creativity remain constant and critical to the process of design. This highlights 25 objects from our collection.

  • Architect's Eye

    This highlights 117 objects from our collection.

  • Designs for Automobiles

    This highlights 67 objects from our collection.

  • Drawings from the Piancastelli Collection

    This highlights 91 objects from our collection.

  • Musicals, Movies, Circuses, and Follies

    An interplay of theatrical past and present, design process and preservation, winds its way through Cooper Hewitt’s collection. The twentieth century continued many popular entertainments—plays, circuses, vaudeville—as well as developed new genres and forms—musical theater and film, to start. Designers conjured the fictional and at times fantastical worlds of these productions, represented here through costumes and scenery, often creating visual language synonymous with the story’s characters and the written text. This highlights 183 objects from our collection.

  • Designing Shakespeare

    Few playwrights have become as ingrained in the Western theatrical tradition as William Shakespeare, with his plays still eliciting wonder as well as inciting controversy centuries after their documented premieres. With dozens of plays performed for hundreds of years, Shakespeare’s work has intersected with diverse design perspectives—like Edward McKnight Kauffer’s modernist Tempst and Theoni Aldredge’s interpretive period costumes for the Public Theater—allowing for aesthetic re-interpretation of the Bard. This highlights 85 objects from our collection.

  • Designs for Interiors

    This highlights 90 objects from our collection.

  • Alexander Drake Birdcages and Cricket Cages

    This highlights 25 objects from our collection.

  • Psychedelic Posters

    This highlights 69 objects from our collection.

  • Designs for the Olympics

    This highlights 15 objects from our collection.

  • Spanish Civil War Posters

    This highlights 29 objects from our collection.

  • Japanese Graphic Design

    This highlights 143 objects from our collection.

  • Angry Graphics

    In 1992, Karrie Jacobs and Steven Heller published Angry Graphics, a chronicle of oppositional images created during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. These passionate works were born in the heat of that period’s wars, epidemics, and economic upheavals. Jacobs and Heller donated many of their posters to Cooper Hewitt. This highlights 125 objects from our collection.

  • Two Sicilies

    This highlights 84 objects from our collection.

  • Black, White and Gray

    This highlights 42 objects from our collection.

  • Cuban Graphic Design

    This highlights 16 objects from our collection.

  • Digital Collection Materials and Related Objects

    This highlights 164 objects from our collection.

  • From Sketch to Product

    This highlights 91 objects from our collection.

  • Lace from the Greenleaf Collection

    Greenleaf was a collector of lace and a founder of the Needle & Bobbin Club. He donated large quantities of very high quality lace to the museum, along with 17th and 18th century embroidery, especially men’s waistcoats. The gifts, totaling over 900 objects, were the subject of a 1964 exhibition, The Greenleaf Collection: Textile Arts from the 16th to early 19th Century. This highlights 317 objects from our collection.

  • Architectural and Staircase Models from the Thaw Collection

    Given to the Cooper Hewitt by Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, this is an exceptional collection of 18th- and 19th-century models of staircases and some significant architectural models. The models exhibit a range of design styles, materials and techniques, but most of the staircase models were designed in the compagnonnage tradition. Compagnonnage, refers to a system of mastership in which a “group of companions” artisans attained mastery of a skill working together under a master, combining formal study with practical training. Apprentices honed their skills in a workshop during the day, taking courses in the art of geometrical drawing and design in the evening, living together in a boarding house. The architectural models were used as teaching tools and were popular as a means to "collect" important architecture, often purchased by travelers on the Grand Tour. This highlights 31 objects from our collection.

  • Highlights from the Wallcoverings Collection

    This highlights 25 objects from our collection.

  • 20th - 21st Century Architectural Drawings

    This highlights 87 objects from our collection.