After undergoing a seven-year restoration process at the Carnegie mansion in New York City (including the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden and the museum’s two townhouses on East 90th Street), the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum (formerly Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum) is scheduled to open to the public on Friday, December 12.
Exterior and entrance hall
Preserving and restoring its details, the museum will boast 60% more gallery space and a new and invigorated visitor experience, with interactive and immersive creative technologies. For example, all visitors will be given a newly developed “interactive pen” allowing them to digitally collect design objects on view and additional objects from the ultra-high-definition interactive tables.
The Immersion Room, designed by Local Projects, will feature Cooper Hewitt’s collection of wallcoverings, allowing visitors to select their favorites—or create their own designs with the pen—and then project them at full scale onto the walls surrounding them. The designs will be recorded and then can be viewed and shared online and supplemented during future visits.
“It is inviting you to learn about the collection through actually being creative yourselves,” said Principal and Founder of Local Projects Jake Barton. “It rethinks the entire museum paradigm.”
“We are the only national museum dedicated exclusively to a creative practice that touches all of us and we are determined to make Cooper-Hewitt the premier design house and advocate for good design in our world,” said Museum Director Caroline Baumann.
Music room and dining room
The museum will reopen with a rich mix of exhibitions. On the ground floor, Designing the New Cooper Hewitt will reveal the process behind three years of renovation and transformation at the museum. On the first floor, a hands-on Process Lab will emphasize how design is a way of thinking, planning and problem solving, and provide a foundation for the rest of the design concepts on view in the museum.
For the first time the entire second floor will be dedicated to showcasing the permanent collection with a variety of exhibitions including Making Design, which will bring together more than 350 objects for the museum’s first long-term survey of works from its collection. Tools: Extending Our Reach will be presented in the versatile new open-plan galleries on the third floor.
“Cooper Hewitt’s opening later this year marks a new chapter for the Smithsonian in New York City,” said Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian. “The museum continues to serve the public on a local and global level through innovative education and outreach programs and expanded online collections access.”