The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum houses a collection of more than a quarter of a million objects including furniture, textiles and drawings that date back over 2,000 years. The museum also features a renowned design library and a beautiful garden which houses exhibits in the summer months.
Design Throughout the AgesFeaturing a changing schedule of exhibitions that showcase pieces from the museum’s vast permanent collection, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the US that focuses exclusively on both historic and modern design. It is naturally a compelling destination for design students and professionals but also for anyone interested in how design has evolved and influenced our lives over the centuries.
Exhibitions at the Cooper HewittFrom silverware to fashion to the designing of Disney theme parks, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum offers a rotating schedule of creative shows that are inspired by many different types of design. Past exhibitions include the “Doodle 4 Google: What I Wish for the World” design competition, which called on students from kindergarten to grade 12 to design a Google logo to express their wish for the world. Chosen from thousands of entries from across the US, the top designs were displayed in this exhibit and the winning student’s logo was on the Google homepage for a day. Other noteworthy exhibitions include “Set In Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels.” This display of spectacular jewels and timepieces showcases the iconic Paris jewelry designer’s incredible influence on style and trends, and its role as a leader in design innovation.
A Brief HistoryThe Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum was founded in 1897 by the daughters of Abram S. Hewitt (New York’s mayor from 1887–88) and granddaughters of the inventor and industrialist Peter Cooper. Cooper designed and built the first steam locomotive in the US and was the founder of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan, a top US college in the fields of architecture and engineering. The museum is housed in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue. Steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie built the Georgian-style house for his family from 1899 to 1902. The structure featured many innovative design details for the time including a structural steel frame, a lush private garden and a residential passenger elevator which is now on display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Carnegie passed away in 1919 and the house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. It was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1972 and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum opened there in 1976.
Visiting Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Location: 2 East 91st Street (at the corner of 91st and Fifth Avenue) New York City, NY, 10128
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