Recently donated by the descendants of the original owner, this wonderfully over-sized 19th-century tortoiseshell comb from Cuba is nearly 10 inches high and in perfect condition! Related to the Spanish tradition of mantillas, shawls that covered the head and shoulders, held up by elaborate combs called peinetas, these combs were brought to Spanish-held territories in the 18th century, and refashioned into hybrid objects inflected by local expression. — Christina De León (@xtina_de_leon), curator at @cooperhewitt #MisCosasFavoritas#HispanicHeritageMonth#HHM#Latinx
Fernando Mastrangelo (@iamfm) was among my first studio visits when I joined Cooper Hewitt. A year after our first meeting, the museum had the great pleasure of acquiring his incredible “Rainbow Sprinkle Drum.” When I first saw this sitting stool in person, I was drawn to the way the thousands of colored sugar sprinkles radiated chaos and dynamism. Looking forward to sharing it with our visitors soon! — Christina De León (@xtina_de_leon), curator at @cooperhewitt #MisCosasFavoritas#HispanicHeritageMonth#HHM#Latinx
For the past year, I’ve been working with designer and artist Rebeca Méndez (@rebecamendezstudio) on an exhibition that explores how culture, design, technology, and the natural world converge. The exhibition features works from Cooper Hewitt’s collection, like this fabulous wallpaper, and 30 bird specimens from the National Museum of Natural History (@smithsoniannmnh) such as this lovely Montezuma Oropendola wing. Come visit us when it opens on October 5! — Christina De León (@xtina_de_leon), curator at @cooperhewitt
Hello! My name is Christina De León and I am the Associate Curator of Latino Design at @CooperHewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York. I am responsible for researching Latino design for the collection, as well as developing exhibitions and public programs focused on Latino design. Here I am in front of “Landscape No. 1” my favorite wallpaper installation designed by Carnovsky (@_carnovsky_) currently on view in the exhibition “#Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.” — Christina De León (@xtina_de_leon)
Why did early astronaut survival kits include shark repellent? Not for warding off sharks in space.
Mission planners couldn't be sure reentry capsules would land in the splashdown zone. Astronaut Scott Carpenter landed 250 miles off course and Gemini VIII was forced down in the Pacific Ocean. So astronauts carried survival equipment. The early kits were standard military issue for the U.S. Navy and had shark repellent known as "shark chaser," a powder that could be released into the sea.
This sea shark chaser was part of the survival kit in Freedom 7, the first Mercury mission when Alan Shepard became the first American in space, and is in our @airandspacemuseum.
We’re (wall)covering #NYFW with this border that shows an overview of women’s fashion from 1700 to 1900. The @cooperhewitt item is titled “Godey” for the Godey’s Lady’s Book, a pioneering Philadelphia magazine published between 1830 and 1898. During that time, it became the most successful magazine geared to women, publishing fashion plates and advice along with news, product endorsements, stories, and tips on managing a household and raising children. The Schmitz-Horning Co. created the wallpaper border in 1947, drawing on a postwar nostalgia for the magazine’s era, and stretching as far back as the colonial woman on the far left. But the wallpaper shows the transformation of fashion—and how change is an inevitable part of culture—and reflects that some Americans’ complex attitudes toward their shifting world. #NYFashionWeek
They worked in different parts of the Pentagon. They agreed that if there was an emergency, they'd meet in the parking lot. When a plane crashed into the building on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Daria "Chip" Gaillard wrote this note to her husband Franklin and left it on their car. He found the note. After they reunited, the Gaillards helped move children at the Pentagon daycare center to safety. They survived the terrorist attack, and their letter is now in our @amhistorymuseum's collection. #September11
In 2005, a pair of ruby slippers was stolen from the Judy Garland Museum. Today the FBI announced they’ve been recovered. How did they know they were the real deal? Our conservators have studied the pair at @amhistorymuseum so closely, they were able to confirm the recovered pair is consistent with one of the four pairs worn by Judy Garland while filming the Wizard of Oz. Another fun find: We’ve known the pair at our @amhistorymuseum are not an identical pair. In examining the recovered shoes, conservators found the left to the museum's right and the right to the museum's left. When temporarily reunited, the four shoes created two matching pairs. Our Ruby Slippers return to display on October 19. Thanks to stabilizing conservation treatment supported by #KeepThemRuby@kickstarter backers, the shoes will delight visitors for generations to come.
We’re closing our Instagram takeover with a rare #orchid from the South Pacific. The island nation of Palau has nearly 100 different species of native orchids, and more than 30 grow of those don’t grow anywhere else on Earth. This one, called Dipodium freycinetiodes, is one of the #orchids found only on #Palau. @SmithsonianEnvironment postdoc Benjamin Crain made two journeys to Palau in the last year to document some of Palau’s hidden orchids and help uncover ways to conserve them. That wraps up our takeover, but you can see more nature, wildlife and weird science photos by following us at @SmithsonianEnvironm
Saw-whet owls are some of the smallest #owls in North America (barely 6 inches tall), and their secretive habits make them hard to study. Last fall, we teamed up with Melissa Acuti of @MarylandDNR to launch a #ProjectOwlNet station on the @SmithsonianEnvironment campus. For several weeks during October and November, #citizenscience volunteers came in at night to catch and band the owls so we could track their fall migrations. Our volunteers sometimes stayed until after midnight helping with the project. With a face that cute, it’s worth the wait! Photo: Carl Benson