School Programs

four elementary school children seated at a table, gluing strips of colored paper onto posterboard.

Design Field Trip

This 90-minute program includes an interactive exhibition tour and hands-on workshop. Students will explore 5-6 objects and participate in a design focused workshop. The teacher selected program offering will be the focus of your field trip.

Design Field Trip for New York City Schools is made possible by Target Logo.

Current field trip offerings

From May 18 to June 25, 2015: Making Design

Students are invited to discover our unique permanent collection exhibition of some 360 historic and contemporary objects. During this 60-minute inquiry tour, students will actively engage with four elements of design that designers use to develop products, graphic designs, and textiles (line, form, texture, pattern, and color). There will also be a gallery activity, during which students will explore how design elements and objects connect to their everyday lives.

From January 12 to May 22, 2015: Tools: Extending Our Reach

During the tour and hands-on workshop, students will:
• Engage with objects from Cooper Hewitt and nine other Smithsonian collections that span 1.85 million years of tool use and design
• Explore the various ways that tools extend humanity’s ability to do everything from complete everyday tasks to print parts from a 3D printer in space
• Design tools of survival

All teachers can access our free Tools: Extending our Reach Teacher Resource Packet and corresponding Digest the Language Slideshow.

From January 12 to April 17, 2015: Beautiful Users

This exhibition investigates how designers apply “human factors” (also called ergonomics) to products, services, and interfaces in order to address the needs of a person as a user. During the tour, students will be asked to critically explore the exhibition from their personal experience as users of everyday design objects. In a hands-on workshop, they will gain empathy by examining the design needs of a variety of users and prototype their own solutions.

All teachers can access our free Beautiful Users Teacher Resource Packet and corresponding Digest the Language Slideshow.


Tools: Extending Our Reach is made possible by major support from
Generous support is also provided by Newell Rubbermaid, Dorit and Avi Reichental, and Esme Usdan.

Additional funding is provided by the August Heckscher Exhibition Fund, Facebook, the Ehrenkranz Fund, and Smithsonian Institution funds from the Grand Challenges Consortia.


New York City Schools (Includes private, public, and charter schools in the five boroughs)
• FREE. Includes admission and all materials
• Minimum* of 15 students and Maximum of 30 students
• Minimum 1 chaperone for every 10 students and Maximum
4 chaperones, including classroom teacher

Non-New York City Schools
• $400.00. Includes admission and all materials
• Minimum* of 15 students and Maximum of 30 students
• Minimum 1 chaperone for every 10 students and Maximum
4 chaperones, including classroom teacher

*If your group has special needs that require a smaller group size, please contact or (212) 849-8351.


Reservations are now being accepted for programs beginning on Monday, April 27, 2015.

Submit your reservation request.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long is the program?
Each Design Field Trip is 90 minutes.

2. What do the students do during the program?
The program includes an exhibition tour and hands-on workshop. When you register, you can select which exhibition you want to explore. During the tour, students will explore five to six objects; during the workshop, they will participate in a design-focused activity.

3. Can I register for more than one class to visit?
You can schedule up to two groups for the same time slot; both groups will participate in the full program (one will begin with the tour, the other with the workshop). Up to 30 students are permitted per group; smaller classes may not be combined to form a larger group of more than 30 participants.

4. How far in advance do I have to register?
Registration must be made six weeks in advance. We only take weekday reservations.

5. What information do I need to have when registering?
a) School and mailing address
b) Teacher name(s) and grade
c) School and teacher contact information (e.g., school phone, cell phone, e-mail address)
d) Number of classes and students (up to 30 students per group; smaller classes may not be combined to form a larger group of over 30 participants)
e) Number of chaperones (up to four chaperones per class; a minimum of one adult per ten students)

6. What happens after I submit my reservation request?
Your reservation request will be reviewed within five business days. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to you noting the program date and start time.

7. Can my class stay in the Museum after my guided visit?
Yes. When you arrive, your class will receive entrance tickets and may come and go freely for the rest of the day. We recommend that chaperones and students divide themselves into smaller groups, as large groups cannot be accommodated in the galleries at the same time.

8. Where can I eat my lunch?
Unfortunately, Cooper Hewitt doesn’t have lunchroom facilities for students, so you will be responsible for finding a place to eat. Please note, we do not have a place to store your lunch, and food is not allowed in the galleries.

9. Where do I check in?
We ask that you arrive ten minutes before your scheduled start time to check in (we cannot attend to you if you arrive sooner). Enter the museum on 91st Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, and the Design Educator assigned to your program will greet you there.

10. What should my students bring?
Students don’t need to bring anything; we’ll provide all necessary supplies. Please note that students will be asked to check their belongings when they arrive, so they should not bring any valuables with them.

11. What if we’re late?
If your group is late, your program will be shorted accordingly, and finish at the originally designated time. Groups more than 30 minutes late will have their tours canceled.

12. What if I need to cancel my tour?
All cancellations must be received in writing at least two weeks prior to the scheduled visit. Please review our full cancellation policy on your confirmation letter and contact School Programs at or 212.849.8351 with any questions. Cancellation and other processing fees may apply.

13. Where can the bus park?
The main entrance to the Museum at 2 E. 91st Street is where buses may drop off and pick up school groups. While waiting, buses can remain on 5th Avenue or seek alternative locations.

14. What if my group requires special accommodations?
On your reservation request, please indicate special accommodations under “Additional Information.” Additional information will be helpful in allowing us to provide the most successful experience for all participants.