Offering books for the scholar’s study, the coffee table and the children’s room alike, the publications program of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has ramped up with five new titles for fall 2014 in celebration of the Dec. 12 opening of the transformed museum. Among the items on the list are lavishly illustrated catalogs of major inaugural exhibitions, the first new book in almost 20 years devoted exclusively to Cooper Hewitt’s extraordinary collection and delightfully unconventional volumes by beloved author, artist and designer Maira Kalman.

“Publishing is an essential element of our identity,” stated Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “It is a thread that connects our work as a research center, an educational institution and an inspiring destination for the public. These exciting new titles herald our grand reopening and reflect the energy and breadth of the new Cooper Hewitt – a dynamic and interactive visitor experience with 60 percent more space and exhibition content.”

Using as its springboard one of the most significant aspects of the grand opening—the presentation of the museum’s first long-term installation of its rich and wide-ranging collection—Cooper Hewitt is publishing Making Design: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Collection, its first new collection book since 1997. Conceived by designer Irma Boom as a notable object in itself, the book will be a lasting resource for museum visitors, design students, researchers, scholars and professional designers, providing an in-depth understanding of design processes as seen through Cooper Hewitt’s great holdings. 924 pages, 1,300 color illustrations, $45.00 hardcover. ISBN 978-0-910503-74-7.

An exploration of 1.85 million years of tool use and design, from a Paleolithic chopper made from volcanic rock to a live feed of the sun transmitted by an orbiting satellite, Tools: Extending Our Reach is published by Cooper Hewitt as the companion to its major inaugural exhibition of the same title. Featuring images of some 175 objects drawn from Cooper Hewitt and nine other Smithsonian collections, as well as scholarly essays, Tools celebrates human ingenuity across cultures and throughout the ages. 276 pages, 230 color illustrations, $29.95 hardcover. ISBN 978-0-910503-77-8.

To accompany another of the inaugural exhibitions, Cooper Hewitt and Princeton Architectural Press are co-publishing Beautiful Users by Ellen Lupton: an exploration of the fundamental shift over the past half-century toward designs based on observations of human anatomy and behavior. Using examples of some 120 objects dating from the mid-20th century until now, the catalog charts the changing relationship between designers and users and considers a range of practices from user research to hacking, open source and the maker culture. 144 pages, 125 color illustrations, $21.95 paperback. ISBN 978-1616892913.

Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag: 31 Objects from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (published by Cooper Hewitt and distributed by Skira/Rizzoli) is an unconventional alphabet book by Maira Kalman for people of all ages. Kalman’s whimsical hand-lettered text brings to life objects ranging from a 13th-century silk thinking cap to Gerrit Rietveld’s Zig-Zag chair, delighting the reader while also illuminating basic concepts in design. 48 pages, 38 illustrations, $17.95 hardcover/$9.99 e-reader. ISBN 978-0847843770.

My Favorite Things, published by HarperCollins, will serve as the exhibition catalog to Maira Kalman Selects—a guest-curated exhibition for the museum’s opening. Bringing together objects such as teapots, illustrated books, porcelain figures of ballet dancers and President Abraham Lincoln’s gold pocket watch, chosen from the holdings of Cooper Hewitt, other Smithsonian collections and the artist’s own home, the book fancifully and movingly suggests a life story, from birth through death. 160 pages, 75 color illustrations, $35.00 hardcover/$18.99 e-reader. ISBN 9780062122971.

The 110-year history of Cooper Hewitt’s magnificent National Landmark home is the subject of Life of a Mansion: The Story of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, by Heather Ewing. Published by Cooper Hewitt, and illustrated with 200 photographs, maps, floor plans and letters, the book chronicles the Carnegie Mansion and the evolution of the museum, from its establishment by the Hewitt Sisters in 1897 to its grand opening in 2014 as the nation’s design authority. 156 pages, 175 color illustrations, $14.95 flexi-bound/$5.99 e-reader. ISBN 978-0-910503-71-6.

About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum educates, inspires and empowers people through design, presenting compelling educational programs, exhibitions and publications. International in scope and possessing one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence, the museum’s rich holdings range from Egypt’s Late Period/New Kingdom (1100 B.C.) to the present day and total more than 210,000 objects.

Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City. The museum is currently closed, and will reopen to the public Dec. 12, following a three-year renovation project.

For further information, please call (212) 849-8400, visit Cooper Hewitt’s website at and follow the museum on Twitter and Facebook.