Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 91st Street
New York, NY 10128
Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm
Fee: Adults $18.00/People with Disabilities & Seniors $10.00/Children Under 18 Free/Students $9.00. Check the prices online as they change.
My review on TripAdvisor:
The Second Floor Design floor
I recently visited the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum for the first time. I can’t believe that all those years visiting the Met just down the road I had never stopped in the museum to take a peak. I went into see the “Nature-Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial” exhibition that was showing on all three floors of the museum. It was an interesting look on how nature plays a role in design and there is a beauty in the unusual shapes and colors that nature provides us.
Third Floor studio
The first floor was composed of design found in nature. You will see blood samples that move and shiver, electric movements and the role of it in nature and how plants and animals can be shown in simplest terms. On the second floor, you will see the prints in clothing and in home décor and see how color and design enhance beauty in an every day environment. The third floor will show more home décor and design objects.
The First Floor Elements
What is unique about the museum is how the mansion was converted into display areas and the use of the interior was blended into fabric of the museum. Take time to look at the areas around the staircases to admire the ceiling and the walls. It must have been a very grand home in its day.
The stairs of the mansion
Purpose of the Museum:
The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum is a design museum located in the Upper East side’s Museum Mile in Manhattan. It is the only museum in the United States devoted to historical and contemporary design. Its collections and exhibitions explore approximately 240 years of design aesthetic and creativity. In June 2014, the museum changed its name from Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and reopened to the public that December (Wiki).
History of the Museum: (Provided by Wiki)
The Cooper-Hewitt Museum was founded in 1896. It was originally named Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration and it fell under the wing of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. In 1895, the granddaughters of Peter Cooper, Sarah Cooper Hewitt, Eleanor Garnier Hewitt and Amy Hewitt Green, asked the Cooper Union for a space to create a Museum for the Arts of Decoration. The museum would take its inspiration from the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. The museum would serve as a place for Cooper Union students and professional designers to study decorative arts collections. Cooper Union trustees provided the fourth floor of the Foundation Building. It opened in 1897. It was free and open three days a week (Wiki).
The museum and the art school started to distance themselves from on another in regards to programming. Other departments of the Cooper Union were making financial demands and the Cooper Union announced that they would close the museum. This led to the museum being closed on July 3, 1963. Public outcry was strong against the closing. A committee to Save the Cooper Union Museum was formed by Henry Francis Du Pont (Wiki).
The American Association of Museums developed a case study about the future of the museum. Negotiations then began between the Cooper Union and the Smithsonian Institution. On October 9, 1967, Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley and Daniel Maggin, the chair of the Board of Trustees signed an agreement turning over the collection and library of the museum to the Smithsonian. On May 14, 1968, the New York Supreme Court transferred to the Smithsonian and the museum was renamed the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design. The following year, 1969, it was renamed as the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Decorative Arts and Design. In October of that year, Lisa Taylor became the Director (Wiki).
The museum, which was the first Smithsonian museum outside of Washington DC, moved to its home at the Andrew Carnegie Mansion in 1970. The Mansion was renovated and the museum opened to the public on October 7, 1976 with the exhibition “Man transFORMs”. A conservation laboratory was opened in July 1978. The Samuel H. Kress Foundation funded the lab and it focuses on textile and paper conversation. Lisa Taylor retired in 1987 and in 1988 Dianne H. Pilgrim took her place as Director. In 1994, the museum’s name was changed again to Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Pilgrim retired from the museum in 2000. In 2000, Paul W. Thompson became Director. On June 17, 2014, the museum’s name was changed again to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. A new graphic identity, wordmark and new website was launched on this day. This identity was designed by Eddie Opara (Wiki).
The building is located in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion. The Georgian style mansion was built over the course of years 1899 to 1902 and has sixty rooms. The home served as not only the home for Andrew Carnegie, his wife and daughter but also as his office for his philanthropic work after his retirement. The mansion was designed by Babb, Cook & Willard. It was the first private residence in the United States to have a structural steel frame. It was the first home in New York to have an Otis elevator (Wiki).
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Don’t miss the second floor design studio and take time to walk around the mansion and look at its detail.
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