Tours

A design guide points to an object on view, engaging visitors in a public tour of an exhibition.

current tour programs

Cooper Hewitt offers 45-minute tours aligned to exhibition topics. Led by our experienced Design Guides, tours will provide opportunities for interactivity and discussion.

PUBLIC TOURS
Tour schedule through August 11th.
Free with museum admission.
Daily, 1:30 p.m.

Monday, Thursday, and Saturday
*An Atlas of Es Devlin

Tuesday
Give Me a Sign: The Language of Symbols

Wednesday and Sunday
Acquired! Shaping the National Design Collection

1st and 3rd Fridays
Curator Tours. Visit the calendar for tour date details. 

2nd and 4th Fridays
Andrew Carnegie Mansion Tour 

* There is a 15-participant capacity for the An Atlas of Es Devlin exhibition tour, available on a first-come basis. Reserve a spot at the Visitor Experience desk.

 

PRIVATE AND GROUP TOURS
The maximum tour group size is 25 people. Design Guide led private tour fee: $150, plus museum admission 

SELF-GUIDED TOURS
Any groups over 10 people are required to make reservations. Self-guided tours are welcomed. The maximum tour group size is 25 people. Self-guided tour fee: museum admission 

RESERVATION REQUESTS AND FEES 
Reservations are required for all tours. Organizers are encouraged to submit a reservation request at least four weeks in advance.

Request a Group Tour Here


TOUR DESCRIPTIONS

Acquired! Shaping the National Design Collection
What does it mean to be a design museum today? Acquired! Shaping the National Design Collection highlights how Cooper Hewitt acquires new work to shape the collection to better reflect current issues and design’s evolving role in daily interactions. The exhibition features more than 150 works, including objects that represent the museum’s collecting legacy, as well as works brought into the collection since 2017.
Learn more about Acquired! Shaping the National Design Collection

An Atlas of Es Devlin
In this guided tour of An Atlas of Es Devlin, visitors will examine the origins, rigor, and depth of Devlin’s process through a compelling journey into her 30-year archive, charting teenage drawings and paintings, to designs for theater, opera, stadium concerts, and ceremonies, to her current engagement with climate and civilizational crises. The exhibition will reveal thematic connections and trace the development of Devlin’s groundbreaking ephemeral architectures. There is a 15-participant capacity for the An Atlas of Es Devlin exhibition tour, available on a first-come basis. Reserve a spot at the Visitor Experience desk.
Learn more about An Atlas of Es Devlin

Give Me a Sign: The Language of Symbols
From the STOP sign to the laugh-cry emoji, symbols play a critical and ubiquitous role in everyday life. As communication tools designed to break language barriers, symbols instruct, protect, entertain, connect, and communicate beliefs. This exhibition demonstrates how symbol design is a dynamic and collaborative effort through which individuals and communities have created, adopted, and redesigned symbols over time. Marking the 50th anniversary of Henry Dreyfuss’ Symbol Sourcebook: An Authoritative Guide to International Graphic Symbols, this exhibition will feature never-before-seen material from Cooper Hewitt’s Henry Dreyfuss Archive.
Learn more about Give Me a Sign: The Language of Symbols 

Andrew Carnegie Mansion Tours
Cooper Hewitt is housed in the former home of industrial magnate Andrew Carnegie. Learn about the history of the mansion and its transformation from home to museum.


ACCESSIBILITY 

  • Location: Tours will take place in person throughout Cooper Hewitt (2 East 91st Street, New York, NY). The areas covered are fully wheelchair accessible. Tours will begin in the Great Hall located on the first floor of the museum. Read more about accessibility at Cooper Hewitt. 
  • What to Expect: The tour involves moving through gallery spaces and standing to view the details of the building; wheelchairs and portable stools are available for those who can’t walk or stand for long periods of time. 
  • Accommodations: For general questions, or if we can provide additional accessibility services or accommodations to support your participation in this program, please email us at CHEducation@si.edu or let us know when registering. Please make your accommodation request as far in advance as possible—preferably at least one week before the program date when possible.

HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES
Please visit Cooper Hewitt’s Plan Your Visit page for up-to-date information on health and safety guidelines. 

 

EXPLORE COOPER HEWITT AT HOME

An Atlas of Es Devlin

An Atlas of Es Devlin is the first monographic museum exhibition dedicated to British artist and stage designer Es Devlin (born 1971), who is renowned for work that transforms audiences. Since beginning in small theaters in 1995, she has charted a course from kinetic stage designs at the National Theatre and the Metropolitan Opera to installations at major institutions including the World Expo, Lincoln Center, and the United Nations headquarters. Her sculptures for Olympic Ceremonies, NFL Super Bowl halftime shows, and stadium tours for Beyoncé, The Weeknd, and U2 frame narratives that feel personal at a monumental scale. Over the past decade, she has adapted her craft to address climate and civilizational crises. Her public installations on endangered species and languages have inspired audiences to reimagine their connections to each other and to the planet. She shapes stories in ways that stay with us and reframe our thinking.

Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes

American textile designer, weaver, and color authority Dorothy Liebes (1897–1972) had a profound influence across design fields, helping to shape American tastes in areas from interiors and transportation to industrial design, fashion, and film. The “Liebes Look”—which combined vivid color, lush texture, and often a glint of metallic—became inextricably linked with the American modern aesthetic.

Give Me a Sign: The Language of Symbols

Give Me a Sign: The Language of Symbols
 examines the fascinating histories behind many of the symbols that instruct, protect, entertain, empower, and connect people. As important communication tools in our daily lives, symbols are constantly evolving based on new needs and users. They formed some of the first written human expressions and today animate our digital chats.

Willi Smith Community Archive

The Willi Smith Digital Community Archive invites friends, collaborators and admirers of American designer Willi Smith to share in writing his history. This site collects and publishes personal recollections, new scholarship, video, and digital ephemera that contributes to a greater understanding of Smith’s life, work, and times.

Mansion History

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is housed in the former home of industrial magnate Andrew Carnegie. Learn about the history of the mansion and its transformation from home to museum.

For Educators and Caretakers

Smithsonian Learning Lab

The Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources for your virtual or physical classroom. Create with online tools and share in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning.

Design at Home

In these short video lessons led by Cooper Hewitt educators, be inspired to solve design challenges.

Design at Home Activity Book

In Design at Home, you’ll get hands-on experience in thinking like a designer. Explore design solutions, relax with a coloring page, and dream up your next big idea. Design on your own or with friends and family—all are welcome!

Featured Image: Cooper Hewitt Design Guides lead public and private tours of Cooper Hewitt's exhibitions.