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Displaying items by tag: cooper hewitt national design museum

It’s time again to thank Messrs. ­Carnegie, Frick, Warburg, Vanderbilt, Morgan & Co. The plutocrats of the last Gilded Age left us unfathomable architectural treasures that we cherish and fight over but are still not sure how to care for. They erected houses, museums, and libraries in the form of temples and Renaissance palazzos, great hunks of ornate stone, carved wood, and intricate parquet, anthologies of precious materials and medieval craft. Some have been lost; touch what’s left and we get angry, alter them and we despair. As Manhattan keeps remaking itself, one shuttered shoe-repair store and vanished brownstone at a time, these ornate piles endure—the Frick, the Cooper Hewitt, the Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum, each with its tribe of passionate loyalists.

None of them is pristine. From the beginning, they experienced decades of fitful renovation, and their occupants still keep bursting through walls. There’s never enough space. Some institutions wear their history more lightly, or have the luxury of starting fresh.

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Andrew Carnegie used the third floor of his Fifth Avenue mansion as a gymnasium where he practiced his putting. The current owner, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, plans to put a small mini-golf green there on Tuesday when the news media gets a preview of the mansion’s nearly completed $91 million renovation.

The gesture is partly a playful way to honor a piece of the building’s history. But it also represents a larger message that the museum is trying to send as it reopens later this year after three years of being closed: This institution, which highlights the importance of design in everything from architecture to umbrellas, can be fun for all kinds of visitors — not just specialists.

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Thursday, 06 February 2014 16:58

Cooper-Hewitt Museum Receives $10 Million Gift

The Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York has received a $10 million gift from the Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation. It is the largest donation in the institution’s history. The generous bequest follows a $5 million donation from the city of New York to help fund the museum’s $79 million renovation. When the Cooper-Hewitt reopens in the fall of 2014, it will have a new third-floor gallery, which will bear the Mandel family name, and 60% more exhibition space, enabling it to present a more significant portion of its collection as well as major design exhibitions.   

The Cooper-Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted to historical and contemporary design. Located in the former home of steel tycoon, Andrew Carnegie, the museum has been closed since 2011 while the building and its surrounding gardens are expanded and restored.

Barbara Mandel joined Cooper-Hewitt’s board in 1997 and she has been a member of the museum’s executive committee since 1998.

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