Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Home | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Tap on the line above to enter the brochure.  In my judgment based on my experience, this is the most exciting, decorative museum brochure I have ever seen.  It is interactive.  Touch an area like “Exhibitions” and the brochure goes to that page or any other page so that you can view the entire brochure detailing the re-opening  of the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum.   In recent years, this Museum has become one of more than a dozen museums under the aegis of the Smithsonian.

Several years since my essay on the life and work of Richard Schermerhorn, Jr., appeared in Shaping the American Landscape, ed. Chas. Birnbaum (UVA Press 2008), I began receiving regular communications from the Cooper-Hewitt.  I now know why.  The newly released official history of the Museum includes the story of New York landscape architect Richard Schermerhorn, Jr.’s role in the design of the Terrace and Gardens.  My work is cited in the book four times.  The author attempted to speak with me, but, alas, my law practiced caused us to miss each other like ships passing in the night.  If you type my full name in the brochure, it appears four times. I’m an incurable lawyer/academic. I am so pleased to have played but a small part in the Museum’s official history.

Although the Smithsonian has given the Cooper-Hewitt considerable cache over the years, federal financial support to underwright Museum operations has been eliminated.  Today, the Cooper-Hewitt and other Smithsonian museums must rely on support from foundations, corporations, and individuals to pay operating expenses.

The Smithsonian began a hundred years ago when James Smithson, a British citizen who had never visited the United States left a considerable inheritance to America for Museum documenting America.

 

 

 

 

 

The Re-Opening of the Cooper-Hewitt/National Design Museum

In 1901, the Andrew Carnegie House, terrace, and Gardens opened practically in ‘sticks’ at Fifth Avenue and between 91st and 92nd Streets in New York City.  Andrew Carnegie and his family.

Years later, the House, Garden and Terrace became the Cooper-Hewitt/National Design Museum, a property of the Smithsonian Institution.

After years of planning and adhering as much as possible to the original designs and renovation the House as well as the Terrace and Gardens (now known as the Arthur Ross Terracce and Gardens).  designed by Richard Schermerhorn, Jr., New York City landscape architect, engineer, and planner,.now awaits the official opening of the Museum. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the over-the-top brochure accompanying this posting. My biographical essay on the life and work of Schermerhorn was used in authoring the official history of the Museum.

Geodes

Geodes are geologic formations found throughout the world.  In the United States, the greatest concentration of these individual spheroids is to be found where the Midwestern states of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana come together. In simple terms, a geode is a round rock with an inside cavity lined with crystals of various colors, usually clear as in Quartz or purple as in Amethyst crystals. In formation, these spheroids are either sedimentary or volcanic (or igneous).image

Under volcanic conditions, these rocks were made under tremendous pressure and heat, while sedimentary spheroids slowly formed layer by layer as different combinations of minerals built up a lining with differing colored crystals inside a round cavity.  After a period of time, ideal conditions created different crystalline structures lining the round cavity.