The Decorative Arts and Design collection reflects changes in domestic life and design from the seventeenth century to the present. Included are materials ranging from furniture, silver, glass, and ceramics to period rooms and textiles. Although the collection includes some European material, its greatest strength is in American objects.
The earliest pieces of decorative art to enter the collection were silver spoons that came to the Museum in 1902; these were followed by a variety of European porcelain the next year. With the arrival of Luke Vincent Lockwood, a noted collector and scholar, in 1914, the collection's focus shifted from Europe to America. We acquired our first American Period Room
in 1915 and went on to acquire more than twenty. During the 1930s, we began actively exhibiting modern design, focusing on its relationship to industry.
Our Decorative Arts and Design collection is on view in our fourth-floor galleries
and in the fifth-floor Luce Center for American Art
, which includes the Visible Storage • Study Center
. Our Period Rooms
are closed to the public through June 2024. School groups can make appointments to visit the Jan Martense and Nicholas Schenck houses by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org