This exhibition was on display from December 12, 2014 to June 07, 2015.

There were 43 objects in this exhibition but right now we can only show you 39 of them. Some objects may not be viewable because they were on loan; this might be due to issues involving image rights or simply because there is no digitized image for the objects.

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This room contains objects I chose from Cooper Hewitt's collection and several I borrowed from the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, along with a few of my own sprinkled in.
What is this room about?
Very loosely, it is about life and death.
But isn’t everything?
It is about falling in love with a group of objects. About the ephemera of history with bits of information about how people lived. It is a room that recognizes that many of the most important memories in your life will be populated by the most seemingly unimportant objects. A chair. A bowl.
It is about the preciousness of time. Elusive. Fragile. The unpredictability of it all. The comfort derived within the unpredictability. The joy derived from comfort. These objects are brave and beautiful. They have survived and are here to tell you something.
What should you do here?
If you are plagued with doubts or troubles, or are in need of a respite, just sit there and stare into space and listen to the silence. That is more than enough.
Or maybe someone will come into the room and sing a song about a spoon. Any songs you hear, about spoons or otherwise, are composed by the brilliant Nico Muhly. You never know. This was, in fact, once the music room in the mansion, when people lived here and had arguments in the kitchen (perhaps about overcooked peas).
If you are curious, have a look at the objects.
To wander about in a room in a museum is to have the fluttery feeling of discovery and potential. A quickening of the pulse. That is a great feeling. Excitement! Inspiration!
But my advice is not to think too much.
Unless it pleases you.
And a walk in Central Park might be the perfect finale to a day in a museum.
—Maira Kalman
Maira Kalman Selects is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.

  • Swan Princess Figurine, ca. 1930
  • molded, enameled, and gilt porcelain.
  • The Henry and Ludmilla Shapiro Collection; Partial gift and partial purchase....
  • 1989-41-182
  • Firebird Figurine, 1920
  • molded, enameled porcelain.
  • The Henry and Ludmilla Shapiro Collection; Partial gift and partial purchase....
  • 1989-41-184
  • Zig-Zag Chair, ca. 1934
  • joined and painted elm.
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund.
  • 1994-60-1
  • Mount, ca. 1810
  • cast and gilt bronze.
  • Gift of Mrs. George B. McClellan.
  • 1907-3-13
  • Bulb Lamp, 1966
  • mold-blown glass, chrome-plated metal, incandescent bulb.
  • Gift of Ingo Maurer.
  • 2008-16-1-a,b