About Cooper Hewitt


Our Mission

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Cooper Hewitt educates, inspires, and empowers people through design by presenting exhibitions and educational programs and maintaining active publications.

It is the mission of Cooper Hewitt’s staff and Board of Trustees to advance the public understanding of design across the thirty centuries of human creativity represented by the Museum’s collection. The Museum was founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor, and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. A branch of the Smithsonian since 1967, Cooper Hewitt is housed in the landmark Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

The campus also includes two historic townhouses renovated with state-of-the-art conservation technology and a unique terrace and garden. Cooper Hewitt’s collections include more than 210,000 design objects and a world-class design library. Its exhibitions, in-depth educational programs, and on-site, degree-granting master’s program explore the process of design, both historic and contemporary. As part of its mission, Cooper Hewitt annually sponsors the National Design Awards, a prestigious program which honors innovation and excellence in American design. Together, these resources and programs reinforce Cooper Hewitt’s position as the preeminent museum and educational authority for the study of design in the United States.

Board of Trustees

Barbara A. Mandel, Chairman
Nancy A. Marks, Vice Chairman
Enid W. Morse, Vice Chairman
Beth Comstock, President
Elizabeth Ainslie, Vice President
Agnes C. Bourne, Vice President
Michael R. Francis, Vice President
Lisa S. Roberts, Vice President
Judy Francis Zankel, Secretary
Eric A. Green, Treasurer

Kurt Andersen
Carl Bass
Scott Belsky
Amita Chatterjee
Alberto Eiber, M.D.
Marilyn F. Friedman
Alice Gottesman
Paul Herzan, Chairman Emeritus
Jon C. Iwata
Madeleine Rudin Johnson
Francine S. Kittredge
Claudia Kotchka
Harvey M. Krueger, Chairman Emeritus
David Lubars
John Maeda
Margery F. Masinter
Richard Meier
Henry R. Muñoz III
Karen A. Phillips
Avi N. Reichental
David Rockwell
Esme Usdan
Todd Waterbury

Kathleen B. Allaire, Chairman Emerita, Honorary
Joan K. Davidson, Honorary
Kenneth B. Miller, Chairman Emeritus, Honorary

Ex Officio—Smithsonian Institution

David J. Skorton, Secretary
Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture
Caroline Baumann, Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum