This exhibition was on display from December 12, 2014 to June 07, 2015.

There were 43 objects in this exhibition but right now we can only show you 39 of them. Some objects may not be viewable because they were on loan; this might be due to issues involving image rights or simply because there is no digitized image for the objects.

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View and print exhibition labels.

Welcome.
This room contains objects I chose from Cooper Hewitt's collection and several I borrowed from the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, along with a few of my own sprinkled in.
What is this room about?
Very loosely, it is about life and death.
But isn’t everything?
It is about falling in love with a group of objects. About the ephemera of history with bits of information about how people lived. It is a room that recognizes that many of the most important memories in your life will be populated by the most seemingly unimportant objects. A chair. A bowl.
It is about the preciousness of time. Elusive. Fragile. The unpredictability of it all. The comfort derived within the unpredictability. The joy derived from comfort. These objects are brave and beautiful. They have survived and are here to tell you something.
What should you do here?
If you are plagued with doubts or troubles, or are in need of a respite, just sit there and stare into space and listen to the silence. That is more than enough.
Or maybe someone will come into the room and sing a song about a spoon. Any songs you hear, about spoons or otherwise, are composed by the brilliant Nico Muhly. You never know. This was, in fact, once the music room in the mansion, when people lived here and had arguments in the kitchen (perhaps about overcooked peas).
If you are curious, have a look at the objects.
To wander about in a room in a museum is to have the fluttery feeling of discovery and potential. A quickening of the pulse. That is a great feeling. Excitement! Inspiration!
But my advice is not to think too much.
Unless it pleases you.
And a walk in Central Park might be the perfect finale to a day in a museum.
—Maira Kalman
Maira Kalman Selects is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.

  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • Sampler (Mexico)
  • linen and silk embroidery, linen foundation.
  • Bequest of Mrs. Henry E. Coe.
  • 1941-69-132
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • Cup And Saucer (France)
  • molded soft-paste porcelain with overglaze enameling and gilding.
  • Gift of Mrs. Morris Hawkes.
  • 1942-25-20-a,c
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 2 images of this object.
  • Bowl (Persia, Kashan)
  • glazed earthenware.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Georgiana L. McClellan.
  • 1956-109-2
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 2 images of this object.
  • Lamp Shade (France)
  • rolled parchment, velvet (edging).
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Forsythe Sherfesee.
  • 1968-144-21
  • Kantharos (Italy)
  • glossy black and dark gray biscuit control-fired earthenware.
  • Gift of Ruth Vollmer.
  • 1971-48-13
  • Swan Princess Figurine
  • molded, enameled, and gilt porcelain.
  • The Henry and Ludmilla Shapiro Collection; Partial gift and partial purchase....
  • 1989-41-182
  • Firebird Figurine
  • molded, enameled porcelain.
  • The Henry and Ludmilla Shapiro Collection; Partial gift and partial purchase....
  • 1989-41-184
  • Bracelet (Netherlands)
  • bent steel wire.
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund.
  • 1993-114-3
  • Zig-Zag Chair
  • joined and painted elm.
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund.
  • 1994-60-1
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 2 images of this object.
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • Book, Winnie-the-Pooh
  • printed paper.
  • PR6025 . I65W5 1926; Courtesy of the Smithsonian Libraries, Washington, DC.
  • 28.2012.3
  • Pair Of Slippers (USA)
  • label: leather sole and upper, linen lining, silk bows .
  • Gift of Mrs. Robert P. Brown.
  • 1960-81-18-a,b
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • Mount
  • cast and gilt bronze.
  • Gift of Mrs. George B. McClellan.
  • 1907-3-13
  • Spoon (USA)
  • molded and engraved sheet silver.
  • Gift of Thomas S. Tibbs.
  • 1959-181-1
  • Mourning Sampler (England)
  • silk embroidery on silk foundation.
  • Gift of Anonymous Donor from the Fraser/Martin Collection.
  • 1974-100-30
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 3 images of this object.
  • Bulb Lamp
  • mold-blown glass, chrome-plated metal, incandescent bulb.
  • Gift of Ingo Maurer.
  • 2008-16-1-a,b
  • Kylix (Greece)
  • painted earthenware.
  • Gift of Ruth Vollmer.
  • 1971-48-12
  • Cap (Egypt)
  • untwisted silk, gilded parchment; z-spun linen lining.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Anonymous Donor.
  • 1949-64-7
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 2 images of this object.
  • Pants, Toscanini's
  • wool.
  • Purchased at auction from the Toscanini Estate; Courtesy of Maira Kalman.
  • 7.2013.1