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Sidewall, Memory Wallpaper

This is a sidewall. It was designed by Cynthia Hathaway. It is dated 2003–04 and we acquired it in 2004. Its medium is adhesive vinyl with cut-outs. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Memory Wallpaper is a self-adhesive vinyl wallcovering designed by Cynthia Hathaway. The design was created as a proposal submitted to a “cabin-themed” exhibition organized by Mother, a Canadian product and graphic design firm. The theme of the exhibition reflected one of Canada’s most enduring icons.
Hathaway’s paper has a walnut-grain pattern with cut-outs spaced throughout the roll add to the nostalgic, cabin-themed story. The shapes of the cut-outs are things that would frequently be found in log cabins, such as lanterns and oars for a canoe. When the paper is placed over old wallpaper, the cutouts through to the old paper create an automatic link between past and present. Hathaway believes it is wasteful to forget the past when we can still make use of it. The wallpaper is intended for the global “do-it-yourself” market—the instructions are written in 13 languages.
We currently have several samples of self adhesive wallcoverings in the collection. The first self-adhesive wallcovering was developed by Con-tac brand, an American company in 1954; Hathaway’s design shows a new use of an old product.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Letting the Past Beautify The Future.

This object was donated by Cynthia Hathaway. It is credited Gift of Cynthia Hathaway.

  • Decorative Panel (France)
  • block-printed and hand painted on a combed background.
  • Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.
  • 1931-45-63

Its dimensions are

Overall: 1465 x 70 cm (48 ft. 3/4 in. x 27 9/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Sidewall, Memory Wallpaper; Designed by Cynthia Hathaway (Canadian, b. 1965); Netherlands; adhesive vinyl with cut-outs; Overall: 1465 x 70 cm (48 ft. 3/4 in. x 27 9/16 in.); Gift of Cynthia Hathaway; 2004-10-1

The Conservation department has taken one photo of this object.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Sidewall, Memory Wallpaper |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 June 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>