NYC Museum of the Week: The Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted entirely to historic and contemporary design, housed in a historic Fifth Avenue mansion Andrew Carnegie used to own.
The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum reopened in December 2014 after an extensive three-year renovation. Architectural details of the landmark Carnegie Mansion were to their Gilded Age glory, while galleries and other public spaces were updated with a 21st century vibe that brings visitors into the center of the design process.
More than 700 0bjects are on display (out of a collection of 200,000) on four floors. Half of them are in Making Design, in a suite of renovated galleries on the second floor, including furniture, lighting fixtures, tableware, clothing, jewelry, books and posters. This is where you should start your visit, since it provides an overview of five key elements of design: line, form, texture, pattern, and color (red, for this initial installation).
Be sure to visit the fabulous Teak Room, the former Carnegie family library, for exhibits focusing on a single architect or designer.
The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum reopened to the public in December 2014 after an extensive three-year renovation that preserved the spirit and Gilded Age architectural details of the landmark building, while galleries and other public spaces were updated with a 21st century vibe that brings visitors into the center of the design process.
The interactive Immersion Room lets you draw your own designs and project them on the walls with a high-tech electronic pen.
Use the tip to draw on interactive tables, and use the top to save your 3D creations or wallpaper design. Make sure you return The Pen when you leave, then log in to the web address on your ticket when you get home to access everything you saved during your visit.
The Models & Prototypes gallery displays rotating installations that provide insights into the important role of models in the design process. For the inaugural installation, the gallery showcases the exceptional models of staircases.
The Cooper-Hewitt is open daily. Weekdays and Sundays, 8am to 6pm. Saturdays, 8am to 9pm. The outdoor terrace is open June-September.
It’s one of the NYC museums along Museum Mile, on Fifth Avenue at 91st Street. Entrance is on 91st., between Fifth and Madison Avenues.