The renovated Andrew Carnegie mansion will have 60 percent more exhibition space.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

$66 Million raised

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Designing the Future

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, educates, inspires and empowers people through design. The nation’s only museum devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design, Cooper Hewitt is the steward of a collection of more than 210,000 design objects spanning 30 centuries. The collection serves as inspiration for creative work of all kinds and tells the story of design’s importance in improving our world.

Housed in the landmark Andrew Carnegie mansion, Cooper Hewitt underwent a state-of-the-art restoration, modernization and expansion from 2011 to 2014.

With the support of the Smithsonian Campaign, Cooper Hewitt conceived, iterated and introduced breakthrough creative technologies—including the Cooper Hewitt Pen, a global first in museum interactive technology—to deepen and broaden audiences’ access to and engagement with the museum’s collection, exhibitions and resources. The museum also recently completed the mass digitization of its entire collection, which is now accessible to audiences around the world from Cooper Hewitt’s website.

Campaign support is also vital to the expansion of Cooper Hewitt’s free education programs. Recent initiatives include leading classroom workshops and panel discussions in cities across the U.S. with National Design Award winners, a National High School Design Competition now in its third year, and making our curricular resources available through the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access’s online Learning Lab.

Donors Barbara and Morton Mandel gave $10 million to Cooper Hewitt—the largest gift in Cooper Hewitt history—to support digitization of the museum’s collection, an endowment for a new 6000-square-foot contemporary gallery, the hiring of key personnel, marketing the museum and its programs, and Pay-What-You-Wish on Saturday evenings. The gallery has been named the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery in recognition of their extraordinary generosity.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Leadership Message

Leadership Message

Cooper Hewitt has unveiled a life changing visitor experience. We’ve renovated our campus inside and out, restoring the Andrew Carnegie mansion and introducing new technology to inspire designers of today and tomorrow. It is a milestone moment for the Smithsonian’s Design Museum, the nation’s only museum devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design.

We’re breaking down the walls of the traditional museum experience, encouraging people to jump in, participate and think like designers. Our new technology device, the Pen, is changing the way visitors experience design. They are inspired to create and collect their own design objects.

We now have 60 percent more exhibition space in which to showcase our collection of more than 210,000 design objects, spanning 30 centuries, as well as present major design exhibitions. Our education programs are transforming the face of American education as we plan to inject design thinking into classrooms.

Design affects us every day — at home and at work, online and in print and in all aspects of our daily lives. It is the tool to improve our world. Your gifts to the Smithsonian Campaign will allow Cooper Hewitt to become the leading resource to teach designers and leaders of tomorrow. There simply couldn’t be a more stimulating time to get involved.

  • Caroline Baumann
    Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Campaign Case

Designing the Future

Cooper Hewitt has redefined the visitor’s experience to engage a larger and more diverse audience. The renovation created 60 percent more exhibition space to present our collection and temporary exhibitions, focusing on historic and contemporary design, as well as socially responsible design such as our Design with the Other 90% series.

Visitors interact with design through creative technologies, such as the Pen. This high-tech device resembles the most basic tool, yet it allows visitors to collect information about objects in the museum and create their own designs on interactive tables.

Through the campaign, we will build an annual endowment for the museum’s expanded exhibitions and programs.

Cooper Hewitt’s Design in the Classroom program brings a design workshop to classrooms in New York City, integrating design into the curriculum. The free program has reached more than 50,000 children since it started three years ago.

Given this success, Cooper Hewitt has tested different models of this hands-on activity across the country. Through the campaign, we will develop a national model to train educators and establish local partnerships to sustain the program. Gifts will also allow the New York City program to remain free of charge.

The Digital Experience
Our new digital infrastructure allows us to engage more visitors and expand our ability to collect and exhibit new objects. Through the campaign, we will continue developing applications for these interactive tables. We will continue to iterate the Pen, refining the design in response to visitors needs and scan more of our collection into 3D.

Our Global Footprint
Through the campaign, we will establish an endowed fund for special initiatives to support projects at the director’s discretion. The fund will support special pop-up exhibitions and collaborative projects and design school competitions.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

is raising $65 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal. 

Campaign Priorities


$10 Million

Our goal is to bolster our endowment of $10 million to increase the access to our collection and exhibitions.

Design Education

$7 Million

We seek a total of $7 million to expand Design in the Classroom, a program piloted in New York City, and create a national model. We have tested the program in San Antonio, Cleveland, New Orleans, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.

The Digital Experience

$7 Million

A fund of $7 million will allow us to create new designs for the Pen and the interactive tables. We will continue to improve documentation and interpretation of our collection.

Our Global Footprint

$2.5 Million

We seek a total of $2.5 million to endow a fund to support special initiatives at the director’s discretion and expand the reach of Cooper Hewitt.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Morton and Barbara Mandel



Morton and Barbara Mandel

Donors Give Cooper Hewitt its Biggest Gift to Launch Museum's New Era 

The Mandels have been a guiding force leading Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Barbara Mandel has been a trustee since 1997 and is chair of its board of trustees. The couple recently made the museum’s largest gift through the Mandel Foundation. In their honor, the third-floor gallery in the renovated Andrew Carnegie Mansion has been named the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery. “We are thrilled to support Cooper Hewitt as it begins a new era,” the Mandels say. “It is gratifying to see it expand physically and digitally.”

Achitectural detail, Cooper Hewitt Andrew Carnegie mansion 



Alan and Terri Spoon

By Design: A Family's Generous Gift

Alan G. Spoon invests in information technology for Polaris Venture Partners. His wife, Terri Spoon, is an architect. Their daughter is a fashion designer, while their son is deeply involved in product design. Their family gift to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, reflects their interests. At the same time, it supports the museum’s mission to showcase the impact of design on daily life. A gallery at the museum will be named in their honor. Alan and Terri Spoon’s generosity prior to this gift was directed to programs to broaden access to the Smithsonian and to help make possible the Secretary’s Distinguished Scientific Research Fellowship, the Smithsonian’s premier science fellowship award. Alan Spoon served on Smithsonian Board of Regents and co-chairs the Smithsonian Campaign. “I love the Smithsonian because it represents tangible, continued learning and discovery and inspiration. I’ve long believed that form and function go hand-in-hand. Cooper Hewitt represents that kind of all-in-one insight into design in America and the world," Alan Spoon says. 


Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio



Investing in Design and Scholarship

"We have endless curiosity and the Smithsonian is endlessly fascinating," says Ed Hintz, Smithsonian National Board member. Inspired by people and programs, Ed and Helen Hintz have invested in three projects at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design museum and five Smithsonian Secretary's Scholars, a new initiative from Secretary David J. Skorton. At Cooper Hewitt, they have supported the museum's Harlem Design Center, the groundbreaking exhibition of designer Thomas Heatherwick and the museum's fifth installment of the popular contemporary design exhibition series, Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial, which runs through August 21, 2016. 

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Contact Us

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Campaign Officers

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Board

  • 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
  • Kurt Andersen
  • Carl Bass
  • Scott Belsky
  • Amita Chatterjee
  • Alberto Eiber, M.D.
  • Marilyn F. Friedman
  • Shelby M. Gans
  • Alice Gottesman
  • Eric A. Green
  • Paul Herzan, Chairman Emeritus
  • Jon C. Iwata
  • Madeleine Rudin Johnson
  • Jon Kamen
  • Francine S. Kittredge
  • Claudia Kotchka
  • Harvey M. Krueger, Chairman Emeritus
  • David Lubars
  • John Maeda
  • Margery F. Masinter
  • Richard Meier
  • Henry R. Muñoz III
  • Karen A. Phillips
  • Avi N. Reichental
  • David Rockwell
  • Esme Usdan
  • Todd Waterbury
  • Kathleen B. Allaire, Chairman Emerita, Honorary
  • Joan K. Davidson, Honorary
  • Kenneth B. Miller, Chairman Emeritus, Honorary

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Total Goal:
$66 Million


$66 Million Raised

As of November 30, 2017

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