Design lovers, time to mark your calendars: on December 12th, Cooper Hewitt: National Design Museum is reopening as Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in it original location, Carnegie Mansion, with 60 percent more gallery space, allowing for the addition of numerous opening exhibits as well as an entirely new interactive visitor experience. As the nation’s only museum solely dedicated to historic and contemporary design, the reopening—the date selected to correspond with the day Andrew Carnegie moved into the house in 1902—should draw a huge crowd!
As visitors enter the building, they will be given the interactive Pen, which will modernize the visitors’ museum experience. With this new technology, guests can store information about the museum, create their own designs with the stylus, as well as record aspects of their visit and view them online. This new approach to the museum experience was designed for all audiences: students, families, children, and more. The interactive Pen was created by Local Projects with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The Pen encourages visitors to interact with the works in the museum.
In addition to the physical changes to the museum, there have also been many branding and identity changes such as a new name, new typeface, new logo, and a new website. The museum formerly known as the Cooper-Hewitt: National Design Museum, has been renamed Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Copper Hewitt, the new typeface designed by Chester Jenkins, is available for free download via the museum’s website—a great treat for typography and graphic design enthusiasts.
The first floor galleries were restored to include interactive components and the second floor was expanded to showcase more of the museum’s collection. The facilities were upgraded to allow for year-round viewing of the museum as the installations for each exhibition can be completed faster. The building is expected to receive LEED Silver certification.
On the first floor of the museum, Designing the New Cooper Hewitt will display the renovation of the museum. Beautiful Users will show that, based on observations and human anatomy, design is becoming more user focused. The second floor of the museum will be focused on the permanent collection with many additional exhibits that can now be accommodated due to the increase of space. Making Design will showcase over 350 pieces of the collection. Hewitt Sisters Collect will be dedicated to sharing the stories of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt. Another design focused exhibit, Models & Prototypes, will showcase the importance of models and prototypes in the design process. The Immersion Room will allow visitors to use the interactive Pen to create their own designs and project them on the surrounding walls. Tools: Extending Our Reach will be presented on the third floor, including about 175 pieces from Cooper Hewitt and nine other Smithsonian collections, covering over 1.85 million years of design. The exhibit will explore how tools interact with the human body and senses.