Cooper Hewitt Design Museum
The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York is the most important museum in the United States solely dedicated to design and decorative arts.
The museum, founded in 1897 as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, is part of the Smithsonian Institution since 1967.
The Cooper Hewitt Design Museum is housed in a Georgian-style palace, the Andrew Carnegie Mansion, built in 1903 after a design by architects Babb, Cook & Willard and located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, adjacent to Central Park.
Divided into five departments, the permanent collection of the museum amounts to over 217,000 pieces of historical and contemporary design and applied arts, including notable collections of furniture, decorative arts, textiles, wallcoverings, architecture (mostly drawings), graphics, ceramics, glasses, metalwork, woodwork, games, dresses and fashion accessories, and musical instruments.
The museum also holds a collection of drawings and photographs focused on lighting.
Objects in the museum’s collections span a period of time of thirteen centuries, from the middle ages to the present, and cover various geographic areas, with a special focus on Europe and the United States; artifacts from the Cooper Hewitt’s permanent collection are exhibited on rotation, together with pieces on loan from other institutions, through special thematic exhibitions.
In 2014, the museum underwent a major renovation and a full update of its galleries with the addition of state-of-the-art multimedia and interactive exhibits.
The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum hosts temporary exhibitions, conferences, talks, hands-on workshops, educational programs, and special events, including the well-known National Design Awards.
The museum’s building also contains an 80,000-volume design library, a shop, a garden, and a cafe.
Cooper Hewitt, Andrew Carnegie Mansion exterior; photo: Matt Flynn
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Great Hall; photo by James Rudnick © 2014
Spoon gallery; photo by Matt Flynn © 2014
Installation view of “Making | Breaking: New Arrivals.” Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, various exhibitions, installation views; photos: xiquinhosilva
Cover image: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the Arthur Ross Terrace & Garden; photo: Agaton Strom Photography