Caroline Baumann became Director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in 2013 after serving the museum in various leadership positions for twelve years. Baumann oversaw the three-year, major restoration and renovation of the museum’s home in the historic Carnegie Mansion and Cooper Hewitt campus, as well as the development of award-winning interactive exhibitions and digital technologies. Baumann and the Cooper Hewitt team worked closely with numerous design firms throughout the renovation, including Gluckman Mayner, Beyer Blinder Belle, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Local Projects, Pentagram, and Walter Hood. The renovation earned Cooper Hewitt LEED silver certification and widespread critical acclaim as “the museum of the future.”
Baumann has also overseen the expansion of the museum’s award-winning education department, which offers programming for all ages and includes Design in the Classroom, a free national design education program, as well as professional development programs for K-12 teachers, drop-in design programs for children, evening public programs for adults, and a graduate-level program in the history of design and curatorial studies in partnership with Parsons School of Design. Beyond the museum’s campus, she and her team have developed national and international exhibitions and forged multiple global partnerships, as they advance the museum’s mission to inspire, educate, and empower people through design.