CoopEmily Orrer Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Emily Orr as assistant curator of modern and contemporary design, effective Jan. 26. In this newly created role, supported by Cooper Hewitt trustee Elizabeth Ainslie and her husband Lee Ainslie, Orr will be responsible for building and researching the museum’s modern and contemporary American design collection and engaging museum audiences through exhibitions, public programs and print and online platforms.

“As the nation’s design museum, we are pleased to bring onto the team a dynamic curator who will conduct new research in the field of 20th- and 21st-century American design, expand our object holdings with an emphasis on contemporary American design, and share findings with the public in innovative new ways,” said director Caroline Baumann. “Emily’s extensive scholarship and background in American design makes her an essential asset to the museum’s curatorial team at this critical time, and I’m grateful to the Ainslies for supporting this important initiative as we lay the groundwork for the exciting future of Cooper Hewitt.”

Orr’s area of specialty is American design from 1850 to the present. She holds a master’s degree in visual culture, costume studies from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in art history and English from Colgate University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the history of design at the Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum. Her dissertation explores how visual merchandising advanced as a design profession in department stores at the turn of the 20th century.

A frequent author and lecturer, her professional experience includes serving as the Marcia Brady Tucker senior fellow in the American Decorative Arts department at Yale University Art Gallery, research collaborator for the 100 Hours Project at University College London and photographic rights assistant for History of Design, published by the Bard Graduate Center/Yale University Press, among other positions.

Upon her appointment, Orr commented, “I am thrilled to be joining Cooper Hewitt at this particularly exciting time of reinvention and renewal. I look forward to working with the outstanding collections to create a new dialogue about design with the museum’s visitors.”

About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. On Dec. 12, 2014, Cooper Hewitt opened in the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion, which offers 60 percent more exhibition space to showcase one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. Currently on view are 10 inaugural exhibitions and installations featuring more than 700 objects throughout four floors of the mansion, many of which draw from the museum’s permanent collection of more than 210,000 objects that span 30 centuries. For the first time in the museum’s history, the entire second floor is dedicated to showcasing the permanent collection through a variety of exhibitions. Visitors can experience a full range of new interactive capabilities, including the opportunity to explore the collection digitally on ultra-high-definition touch-screen tables, draw their own designs in the Immersion Room and solve real-world design problems in the Process Lab.

Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue in New York City. Hours are Sunday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The new Tarallucci e Vino café, along with the Arthur Ross Terrace & Garden, open daily at 8:00 a.m. and are accessible without an admissions ticket through the new East 90th Street entrance. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street stations) and the Fifth and Madison Avenue buses. Adult admission, $18; seniors, $12; students, $9. Cooper Hewitt members and children younger than age 18 are admitted free. Pay What You Wish every Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. The museum is fully accessible.

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