Current Exhibitions



Installation view of "Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial." Photo by Matt Flynn © 2016 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Through August 21, 2016

The fifth installment of the museum’s popular contemporary design exhibition series, Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses. With a focus on aesthetic innovation, the exhibition features more than 250 works by 63 designers from around the globe, and is organized around seven themes: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental, and transformative. With projects ranging from experimental prototypes and interactive games to fashion ensembles and architectural interventions, Beauty presents works of astonishing form and surprising function from the most outstanding voices of the global design scene.

Learn more about the Triennial.

Passion for the Exotic: Louis Comfort Tiffany and Lockwood de Forest


Through October 10, 2016

Works by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the context of the Carnegie Mansion’s Teak Room, designed by Tiffany’s former business partner Lockwood de Forest in 1902. The Teak Room, which served as the Carnegie family library, celebrates a passion for the exotic that blossomed in the second half of the nineteenth century and is the most complete de Forest interior remaining in its intended location.

Learn more about the Passion for the Exotic.

Immersion Room


Cooper Hewitt’s extraordinary collection of wallcoverings is featured in a new high-tech space, the Immersion Room, offering visitors the unprecedented experience of using the Pen to select digital images of wallpapers or sketch their own design and then project them onto the walls at full scale to see their impact. More than an entertaining interactive experience, the Immersion Room gives museum visitors their first opportunity to discover Cooper Hewitt’s wallcoverings as they were intended to be viewed.

Learn more about the Immersion Room.

Fragile Beasts


Through January 16, 2017

Fragile Beasts features nearly seventy rarely seen ornament prints and drawings from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that are part of Cooper Hewitt’s permanent collection and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library.

Learn more about Fragile Beasts.

Thom Browne selects

Through October 23, 2016

Fashion designer Thom Browne explores ideas of reflection and individuality with an installation that includes more than 50 of the museum’s historic and contemporary mirrors and frames. The exhibition is the 13th in the ongoing Selects series in which prominent designers, artists and architects are invited to mine and interpret the museum’s collection of more than 210,000 objects.

Learn more about Thom Browne Selects.

Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection

Z Clock, 1934. Designed by Gilbert Rohde

through March 2017

Energizing the Everyday celebrates the exceptional gifts from leading collector George R. Kravis II to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From radios to furniture, the exhibition displays some of the most influential objects in the history of modernism, alongside contextual works drawn from the museum’s collection.

Learn more about Energizing the Everyday.

Hewitt Sisters Collect

Gold birdcage with jade and amethyst string of beads coming from the top and fancy bird toys and perches inside.

through april 2017

The first exhibition to share the remarkable story of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt, who in 1897 established a museum within Cooper Union, recognizes their central role in the museum’s founding and genesis of the core collection.
Learn more about Hewitt Sisters Collect.

Models & Prototypes Gallery

Miniature model of a grand spiraling staircase.

The second floor of Cooper Hewitt features a Models & Prototypes gallery, where rotating installations provide insights into the important role of models in the design process. For the inaugural installation, the gallery showcases the exceptional models of staircases donated to Cooper Hewitt by Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw.

Learn more about the Models & Prototypes Gallery.


Ricky Nierva, Riley and Emotions, Inside Out, 2015. Watercolor and marker on paper. © Disney/Pixar.

Ricky Nierva, Riley and Emotions, Inside Out, 2015. Watercolor and marker on paper. © Disney/Pixar.

Through september 11, 2016

A capsule installation of the collaborative design process behind Pixar Animation Studios now on view in the Process Lab. Rarely-seen hand-drawn sketches, paintings, and sculptures from over 25 Pixar films, plus hands-on design activities show how Pixar develops its popular characters, fosters emotional connections to its films, and, ultimately, places the design process at the studio’s creative core.

Learn more about Pixar: The Design of Story.

Designing the New Cooper Hewitt

The museum itself is a grand design object, as shown in the ground-floor exhibition Designing the New Cooper Hewitt. Design briefs, sketches, photographs, blueprints and other illustrations from the team of designers reveals the process behind three years of renovation and transformation at Cooper Hewitt.

Exhibition Sponsors

Digital Experience supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial is made possible by generous support from Edward and Helen Hintz and Madeleine Rudin Johnson.

Additional funding is provided by Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee, August Heckscher Exhibition Fund, Margery and Edgar Masinter, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., Ehrenkranz Fund, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Rockwell Group, Esme Usdan Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Dutch Culture program of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, and the Consulate General of Finland.

Exhibitions of the permanent collection are made possible by major support from Nancy Marks. Additional support is provided by Elizabeth and Lee Ainslie and the Henry Luce Foundation.

Thom Browne Selects is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.

Generous support for the site-specific installation provided by Thom Browne International.

Hewitt Sisters Collect is made possible by generous support from Nancy Marks. Additional support is provided by Margery and Edgar Masinter and the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

Passion for the Exotic: Louis Comfort Tiffany and Lockwood de Forest  is made possible in part by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the American Express Foundation. Restoration of the Teak Room is supported in part by the American Express Historic Preservation Fund.

The Immersion Room is made possible by major support from Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee.