Nestled in the Carnegie Mansion on the corner of 91st and 5th is the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. A visit here has been on my “Museum Must” list since it reopened in December 2014 and after attending with much anticipation, I am happy to report that the museum did not disappoint. It is an experience not to be missed as it does an impeccable job of marrying the mansion’s Gilded Aged Oak with what the museum toasts as a “digital experience”, offering visitors the opportunity to engage with exhibits – while encouraging photography.
I was given an interactive pen, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, upon my arrival. Using NFC technology, this pen allows guests to register their favorite pieces to their visitor accounts which they can then retrieve online. Additionally, visitors can use the pens on the two interactive tables and in the immersion room where designs come to life. It is this type of ingenuity that sets the Cooper-Hewitt apart on Museum Mile and creates an entirely different museum experience. The mansion itself feels like an exhibit with its beautiful architecture and gorgeous staircase in the Main Hall.
My favorite exhibit was How Posters Work, which features rarely seen works from the Museum’s permanent collection. Dissecting the principles of design and the importance of storytelling in visual communication, this exhibit showcases the power of the poster as a medium. It is a refreshing exhibit in this digital age and is on view until January 17, 2016. It is a must-see.