March 2012

Did you know that the Smithsonian Museums include a museum of design? You can browse and search through the Cooper–Hewitt, National Design Museum's images of works relevant to your field of study. This museum website also offers an expert Design Blog that you can RSS feed to your favorite device to keep you au courant on the names, events, exhibits, and trends that inhabit the upper echelons of design.

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum ( is noted for its holdings centered on historical and contemporary design. It is located in the Carnegie Mansion on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. The museum has been part of the Smithsonian since 1967. The museum is closed for renovations through 2013. During the renovation, museum events will be staged in other locations, including the United Nations and Enid and Lester Morse Historic Design Lecture Series at the University Club.

Cooper-Hewitt is expanding its web presence, working toward "a museum without walls." The website includes a collection that is organized into four categories: Product Design & Decorative Arts; Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design; Textiles; and Wall Coverings. Among the objects are a Michelangelo drawing of a candelabrum, furniture plans by Frank Lloyd Wright, the jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels, and more than 400 textile stencil patterns. Also present are drawings and prints by artists such as Winslow Homer and Frederic E. Church. The Product Design & Decorative Arts collection contains some 40,000 three-dimensional objects, with examples from ancient times to the 21st century. The collections of Textiles and Wall Coverings are also extensive. The wealth of woven textiles has been increased with examples of pre-Columbian Andean textiles, Indonesian songket, a 16th century Safavid velvet, and the works of 20th century masters like Anni Albers, Dorothy Leibes, Marianne Strengell, Jack Lenor Larsen, and Sheila Hicks. There is also an expanded professional development program for K-12 teachers, including 120 lesson plans aligned to national standards, highlighting design as a teaching tool across the curriculum.

Reviewed by FIDM Library Staff Member Ruth Chung