The Kent Blog

Brush Up on Design: Virtual Programs at Cooper Hewitt


The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum lies a few blocks away from the Upper East Side homes at The Kent. Its doors may be temporarily closed, but its collections remain firmly open online. Let’s take this opportunity to delve into its cornucopia of virtual offerings.

Explore the Collections and Exhibitions
Step into the world of fashionista game-changer Willi Smith and peruse his original sketches, vintage runway videos—plus garments from his impressive career. Hark back to the museum's 2019 exhibition on naturally derived plastics, marveling at buffalo-horn birdcages and tortoiseshell combs. Or take a close-up look at prize objects picked from the permanent collection, ranging from 18th-century armchairs to Talking Heads album artwork. There's so much here that it calls for multiple virtual visits.

Take Part in Remote Events
The museum is reaching out to design aficionados old and new by broadcasting special online events. Coming up, there's an opportunity to explore Black presence in the Cooper Hewitt collections with Dr. Dori Tunstall—discovering everything from 19th-century Congolese status cloths to iconic Spike Lee film posters created by Art Sims (February 25). Amanda Astorga and Ángel López invite you to participate in a hands-on session, where you can expand and embellish your design skills and learn to utilize them in your own work (March 3). There's also a chance to explore the power of the mood board with designer/educator Lesley Ware (March 17).

Catch Up on Videos
Aside from its live happenings, the Cooper Hewitt has a treasure trove of recorded material on its website; a library of access-anytime lectures includes Hans Tan on the reuse of materials into beautiful (and valuable) artworks; a panel on reshaping women’s fashion to become size-inclusive; and the discussion around the challenges of designing cities that fight inequality and racism in society. It's a great way to break up those Netflix binges.

Do a Bit of Online Shopping
Ready to bring some Cooper Hewitt elegance into your day-to-day life? The Kent’s eat-in kitchens are more than the right backdrop for this “inspired by Bauhaus” four-piece sugar and cream set. And the Alberto Rossi-designed Momento Wall Clock could add sleek punctuation to your great room. From chic objects and books about architecture, art, and fashion to educational toys and gorgeous scarves and face masks (or fun socks), the Cooper Hewitt shop is ready to share the magic.


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