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Cooper-Hewitt Museum

Cooper-Hewitt Museum (116)

Another small gem that the Museum Mile holds ready for us is the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the former neo-Georgian mansion of the famous Scotsman, Andrew Carnegie, who created the Carnegie Steel Company in Pittsburgh in the late 19th century, in order to become an integral part of the famous US Steel, after several mergers with other companies. He was a remarkable business leader in the United States and a great philanthropist, as he allocated large amounts of money to create libraries, schools, universities and even pension funds for his most loyal employees.

The building was designed by Babb, Cook & Willard in 1901 in what were then the outskirts of the city. A curious and anecdotal detail; behold its low doors. Rumour has it that the steel tycoon was merely five feet high and, of course, did not like feeling small.

In 1968, the Carnegie Corporation gave the mansion over to the Smithsonian Institution; thus, in 1976, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum was installed here. Originally, the museum was founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt, granddaughters of Peter Cooper, who had gathered a large collection of prints, drawings, textiles, maps, furniture, etc. Peter Cooper was an industrialist, inventor and philanthropist, who was loved by the people and who even stood for the presidency of the United States. He also went down in history for having designed and built the country's first steam locomotive in 1830 and founded the Cooper Union School in 1859, which is now recognised as one of the best schools for art, engineering and architecture. 

At present, the former home of Andrew Carnegie houses now the headquarters of this fantastic museum, entirely devoted to design, whose collection includes more than 250,000 items and a complete library. Among its most important works are prints by Le Corbusier, Henry Matisse and Joan Miró, as well as architectural drawings of famous buildings in New York.

With its unique collection, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum organises excellent and highly recommended exhibitions, which always place great emphasis on the design process, both in historical and contemporary terms. 

As a last fact, this institution is known worldwide for hosting the National Design Awards, highly prestigious design awards rewarding innovation and excellence of national design. If you love design, you have probably heard of them. We can assure you that spectacular works like those shown in this museum are presented.

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