Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag


The ABCs, told through the design collection at the Cooper Hewitt.

The Cooper Hewitt design museum is home to thousands and thousands of objects that reflect the history of architecture, sculpture, the decorative arts, woodwork, metalwork, pottery, costumes, instruments, and furniture. From historical posters (like this one, which inspired Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings) to the Beau Brownie camera, the museum is devoted to celebrating the history of design through objects, publications, videos, and recordings from around the world.

In conjunction with the exhibition Maira Kalman Selects, which is on view at the museum until June 7th, 2015, the Cooper Hewitt invited Kalman to peruse their collection for objects that show the way that design touches your everyday life. Thirty-one of her selections are woven into Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag, an illustrated ABC book for adults and kids alike. She uses the alphabet as a scaffold for reflecting on her favorite artifacts, from a cap to a clock to a chair. Armed with her signature wit, she invites you and your kids to explore the Cooper Hewitt’s collection alongside her as you learn about these unique design objects and wind your way from A (for Ah-ha!) to Z (for Gerrit Rietveld’s Zig-Zag chair).

Kalman also created an adult companion book for the exhibition, My Favorite Things—equally as delightful for older readers.

If you’re curious to explore the Cooper Hewitt’s collection, their online project, Object Of The Day is a trove of fascinating design finds from all over the globe.

Find Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag at your local library.