Welcome to Cooper Hewitt
A letter from the director
Welcome to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary design, and is the steward of one of the most diverse and comprehensive design collections in existence—more than 210,000 design objects spanning 30 centuries. From ancient textiles and works on paper to icons of modern design and cutting-edge technologies, Cooper Hewitt’s collection serves as inspiration for creative work of all kinds and tells the story of design’s paramount importance in improving our world.
Housed in the landmark Andrew Carnegie Mansion, Cooper Hewitt reopened in 2014 after a once-in-a-lifetime, transformative renovation, which merged state-of-the-art restoration and conservation of the mansion’s historic interiors with a bold reinvention of the museum experience. In our new and expanded galleries, you will discover the extraordinary breadth of our collection, as well as experience inspiring exhibitions that only America’s design museum—now LEED Silver certified— can offer.
We encourage you to actively engage in the design process and experience firsthand design’s problem-solving power. The Cooper Hewitt Pen is your all-access pass to design and a global first in the world of creative tech, conceived and produced thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies. Use it to plunge into the collection and participate in the museum’s many interactive activities—available nowhere else!— that make learning about design enriching and rewarding.
Outside, our beautifully reimagined Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden invites relaxation and play, and is open to the public free of charge. Surrounded by an ample array of seasonal plantings punctuated with stellar examples of design, you’ll find it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee or a game of table tennis!
Online, Cooper Hewitt offers a slew of free design resources. Here you will find video of design talks with influencers, teaching resources for injecting design thinking into the classroom, our downloadable Cooper Hewitt typeface and 3D model of the Carnegie Mansion, plus our entire collection digitized. Browse past exhibitions, dive into our rich interpretative materials, and check back frequently to enjoy the constantly updated curatorial content that will deepen and expand your knowledge of design.
When you visit, please be sure to say hello! I am in the galleries or out in the garden nearly every day and love to meet our visitors. Or connect with me on social media and share your Cooper Hewitt experience. I look forward to seeing you and trust that Cooper Hewitt will inspire you each time you visit us—in person and online.