About Cooper Hewitt

A large brick and concrete mansion viewed from above, with more buildings all around in the distance

Our Mission

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Cooper Hewitt educates, inspires, and empowers people through design by presenting exhibitions and educational programs and maintaining active publications.

It is the mission of Cooper Hewitt’s staff and Board of Trustees to advance the public understanding of design across the thirty centuries of human creativity represented by the Museum’s collection. The Museum was founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor, and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. A branch of the Smithsonian since 1967, Cooper Hewitt is housed in the landmark Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

The campus also includes two historic townhouses renovated with state-of-the-art conservation technology and a unique terrace and garden. Cooper Hewitt’s collections include more than 210,000 design objects and a world-class design library. Its exhibitions, in-depth educational programs, and on-site, degree-granting master’s program explore the process of design, both historic and contemporary. As part of its mission, Cooper Hewitt annually sponsors the National Design Awards, a prestigious program which honors innovation and excellence in American design. Together, these resources and programs reinforce Cooper Hewitt’s position as the preeminent museum and educational authority for the study of design in the United States.

Board of Trustees

Barbara A. Mandel, Chairman
Nancy A. Marks, Vice Chairman
Enid W. Morse, Vice Chairman
Beth Comstock, President
Elizabeth Ainslie, Vice President
Agnes C. Bourne, Vice President
Michael R. Francis, Vice President
Lisa S. Roberts, Vice President
Judy Francis Zankel, Secretary
Bart Friedman, Treasurer

Kurt Andersen
Carl Bass
Scott Belsky
Alain Bernard
Amita Chatterjee
Alberto Eiber, M.D.
Marilyn F. Friedman
Shelby M. Gans
Alice Gottesman
Paul Herzan, Chairman Emeritus
Helen Hintz
Jon C. Iwata
Jon Kamen
Francine S. Kittredge
David Lubars
John Maeda
Margery F. Masinter
Henry R. Muñoz III
Karen A. Phillips
Avi N. Reichental
David Rockwell
Madeleine K. Rudin
Esme Usdan
Todd Waterbury

Kathleen B. Allaire, Chairman Emerita
Joan K. Davidson, Trustee Emerita
Harvey M. Krueger, Chairman Emeritus
Richard Meier, Trustee Emeritus
Kenneth B. Miller, Chairman Emeritus

Ex Officio—Smithsonian Institution

David J. Skorton, Secretary
Richard Kurin, Acting Provost/Under Secretary for Museums & Research
Caroline Baumann, Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Featured Image: Aerial view of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum located in the former residence of Andrew Carnegie