Opening Exhibitions

several people in a large museum gallery looking at the items on the walls and in large glass cases.

Image of a young man's fist holding a carved stone arrowhead with handle side tipped with bright yellow silicone.

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.

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From 12 December 2014 to 25 May 2015

Pair of very old yellow cloth slippers against a pure white backdrop.

Maira Kalman Selects

Maira Kalman Selects will fill the former first-floor Drawing Room of the Carnegie Mansion with 40 objects from the collections of Cooper Hewitt, other Smithsonian institutions and Kalman herself, arranged by the acclaimed author, artist, and designer to suggest the journey of a life story, from birth through death.

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From 12 December 2014 to 14 June 2015

green plastic vase or urn with complex geometric striations all over the surface.

Making Design

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: line, form, texture, pattern, and color (red, for this initial installation).

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Painting of an orange building with ornate exterior walls in what appears to be a desert.

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 America’s leading Aesthetic Movement champion of Indian design, Lockwood de Forest.

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blueprint-like diagram of man and woman side by side with various measurements sketched out around them

Beautiful Users

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 behavior.

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From 12 December 2014 to 26 April 2015

Architectural rendering of a corner of a room with sweeping wallpaper pattern on both walls and a man hunched over an interactive table beside it.

Immersion Room

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 viewed.

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Miniature model of a grand spiraling staircase.

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.

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

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.

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architectural rendering of a gallery space showing people touching objects on tables and sitting on designerly stools.

Process Lab

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.

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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.

Exhibition Sponsors

Digital Experience supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Tools: Extending Our Reach is made possible by major support from GE. 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.

Beautiful Users is made possible by major support from Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee and the Adobe Foundation. Generous support is also provided by Dorit and Avi Reichental. Additional funding is provided by 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.

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.

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: 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.

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