Barbara A. Mandel, 1925–2019

Cooper Hewitt Trustee 1997-2019

The Board of Trustees and staff of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum deeply mourn the passing of our beloved friend and exceptional former Board Chair Barbara Mandel. Forthright, fiercely intelligent, and a champion of design education, Barbara served Cooper Hewitt from 1997-2019, first as chair of its Development Committee, then a member of the Campaign Committee that led the museum’s mammoth renovation project, and as Board Chair from 2013 to 2017.

People attend the opening of the newly renovated Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum housed in the Carnegie mansion in New York City on December 12, 2014.

People attend the opening of the newly renovated Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum housed in the Carnegie mansion in New York City on December 12, 2014. Photo by Angela Jimenez

Through her sage counsel and exemplary generosity, Barbara advanced nearly every aspect of the museum, including the mass digitization of Cooper Hewitt’s collection. In 2014, the museum’s largest exhibition space was named the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery to honor her and her late husband’s extraordinary and inspiring impact.

Two dozen or so of Cooper Hewitt's trustees gathered for a group photo

Cooper Hewitt’s dedicated Board of Trustees in December 2016.

Barbara’s legacy at Cooper Hewitt, and all that she and her late husband Mort made possible, will live on in the exhibitions on view in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery, and every time someone views our Collection online. We will forever be indebted to Barbara and Mort Mandel for the transformation of Cooper Hewitt.

Barbara and Paul seated in whimsical chairs

Barbara Mandel and Paul Herzan at the 2018 Cooper Hewitt Garden Party. Photo: Scott Rudd

Cooper Hewitt's dedicated Board of Trustees, including Barbara Mandel, dressed in vibrant attire at the Cooper Hewitt Garden Party

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