Rendering of opening exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery. Copyright © 2014 Thinc Design, all rights reserved
Tools: Extending Our Reach
This full-floor exhibition includes objects from Cooper Hewitt and nine other Smithsonian collections, spanning 1.85 million years of tool use and design, to explore how tools extend the human body—augmenting our ordinary grasp and power, extending the limits of our senses, sometimes even serving as substitutes (in the case of prostheses)—while considering how some tools break into our lives as radical innovations, whereas many others have remained almost unchanged in form and function for centuries.
From 12 December 2014 to 25 May 2015
Maira Kalman Selects
Maira Kalman Selects will fill the former first-floor Music Room of the Carnegie Mansion with 56 objects from the collections of Cooper Hewitt, other Smithsonian museums and Kalman herself, arranged by the acclaimed author, artist, and designer to suggest the journey of a life story, from birth through death.
From 12 December 2014 to 14 June 2015
Making Design, installed in a suite of renovated galleries on the second floor, is the first in a number of exhibitions devoted to showcasing Cooper Hewitt’s collection. Bringing together some 360 objects, including furniture, lighting fixtures, tableware, clothing, jewelry, books and posters, the exhibition will provide an overview of five key elements of design: color (red, for this initial installation), form, line, pattern and texture.
Beautiful Users, installed in Cooper Hewitt’s gracious first-floor Design Process Galleries, will introduce visitors to one of the fundamental changes in design thinking over the past half-century: the shift toward designs based on observations of human anatomy and behaviour.
From 12 December 2014 to 26 April 2015
Models & Prototypes gallery
The second floor of Cooper Hewitt will also feature a Models & Prototypes gallery, where rotating installations will provide insights into the important role of models in the design process. For the inaugural installation, the gallery will showcase the exceptional models of staircases donated to Cooper Hewitt by Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw.
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 will reveal the process behind three years of renovation and transformation at Cooper Hewitt.
Hewitt Sisters Collect
Hewitt Sisters Collect, the first exhibition to share the remarkable story of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt, who in 1897 established a museum within Cooper Union, will recognize their central role in the museum’s founding and genesis of the core collection.
Passion for the Exotic: Lockwood de Forest, Frederic Church
One of the great treasures of the Carnegie Mansion, on the second floor, is the former family library, created by the leading American exponent of the Aesthetic Movement, Lockwood de Forest.
Cooper Hewitt’s extraordinary collection of wallcoverings will be 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 will give museum visitors their first opportunity to discover Cooper Hewitt’s wallcoverings as they were intended to be installed.
In the dynamic and interactive Process Lab, visitors will brainstorm design solutions through hands-on and digital activities. It 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.
Tools: Extending Our Reach is made possible by major support from GE. Generous support is also provided by Newell Rubbermaid and Esme Usdan. Additional funding is provided by the August Heckscher Exhibition Fund, the Ehrenkranz Fund, and Smithsonian Institution funds from the Consortium for Understanding the American Experience and the Consortium for Valuing World Cultures.
Beautiful Users is made possible by major support from the Adobe Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee, the August Heckscher Exhibition Fund, the Ehrenkranz Fund, the Bill Moggridge Memorial Fund, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Deborah Buck, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. and IDEO.
Maira Kalman Selects is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund. In-kind support is provided by Maharam.
Exhibitions of the permanent collection are made possible by major support from Nancy Marks. Additional support is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Hewitt Sisters Collect is made possible by generous support from Nancy Marks. Additional funding is provided by Margery and Edgar Masinter and Smithsonian Women’s Committee.
Passion for the Exotic: Lockwood de Forest, Frederic Church is made possible in part by the American Express Foundation. Restoration of the Teak Room is supported in part by the American Express Historic Preservation Fund.