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National Design Museum Awarded Challenge Grant


Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum has been awarded an $800,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation for its RE:DESIGN renovation project. To date, $51 million, or 94 percent, of the $54 million renovation goal has been raised. The Kresge Foundation grant requires Cooper-Hewitt to raise the remaining $3 million renovation funds by September 30, 2011. 

“The renovation is the most ambitious project in Cooper-Hewitt’s history,” explains Bill Moggridge, director of the museum. “The grant signals great commitment to the museum’s project and mission by the renowned Kresge Foundation and serves as a wonderful impetus to complete the fundraising for the renovation portion of the campaign.”

The renovation has two phases: Phase One began in March with the renovation of the museum’s two townhouses and is expected to be completed in summer 2011. Phase Two construction, involving the Carnegie Mansion, is expected to begin mid-2011; the entire project will be completed in 2013. The expansion design is led by Gluckman Mayner Architects, and the executive architect is Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

Phase One involves reprogramming and renovating the museum’s East 90th Street townhouses to free administrative space within the Carnegie Mansion, which will increase exhibition space by 60 percent. Phase Two will restore the mansion and create a new 5,000-square-foot gallery. The museum has also raised 67 percent ($6.7 million) toward the campaign’s $10 million endowment goal.

“Having raised 94 percent toward the renovation goal, we are now turning to Cooper-Hewitt’s members and friends to engage them in realizing this transformative project,” according to Harvey Krueger and Michael Francis, trustees and co-chairs of the capital campaign committee. “We are grateful to the Kresge Foundation for their tremendous support and the timing of the challenge grant couldn’t be better.” 

New Public Spaces
Cooper-Hewitt’s redesign focuses on adapting a 20th century historic house to meet the needs of a 21st-century museum. It involves a program of historic preservation, which will work within the preservation parameters established by executive architect Beyer Blinder Belle, and it will aim for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

The project will increase Cooper-Hewitt’s exhibition space and reconfigure conservation and collection-storage facilities. Through reprogramming of portions of the mansion and the adjacent townhouses, the project will increase the museum’s total exhibition space from approximately 10,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet.

Major components of the project include:

  • A new 5,000-square-foot gallery—the largest, most versatile gallery space in the museum—on the third floor
  • Restored first-floor galleries dedicated to showing the museum’s permanent collection
  • Restored historic features of the Carnegie Mansion, including exterior masonry restoration and upgraded lighting and signage
  • A new National Design Library in the townhouses on East 90th Street, with reading and study areas, full Wi-Fi access, reception and reference spaces, a workroom, open stacks and a rare-book room
  • A new off-site collection and conservation storage facility enables the museum to plan for collection growth, improve care and conservation and to digitize the collection; 20 percent of the permanent collection, representing the most significant and frequently researched objects, will remain at the current campus as a core resource for graduate students and scholars
  • Expanded and upgraded facilities for exhibition preparation will accelerate the installation of new exhibitions, enabling the museum to remain open all 12 months, without long transition periods between exhibitions 

About the Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation is a national, private foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations by creating access and opportunity in underserved communities, improving the health of low-income people, supporting artistic expression, assisting in the revitalization of Detroit and advancing methods for dealing with global climate change. The foundation’s work is focused in six fields of interest: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services, and community development.

About Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Founded in 1897, Cooper-Hewitt is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions and publications.