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Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum/ Andrew Carnegie Mansion

The newly rebranded Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum takes residence in the gorgeous former mansion of Andrew Carnegie, built during the Gilded Age of 1903. Carnegie lived in the gargantuan over the top residence with his family until his death in 1919, but his wife Louise called it home until 1946. It was the first private home to have an elevator and central heating. It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to afford to live in a sprawling mansion off Central Park in the 20th Century, let alone this enormous gem on 91st Street. During a recent renovation, the museum was emptied of its collection, which gives a feel for how the Carnegies saw the mansion in day to day life.

Carnegie Mansion


The Cooper Hewitt took over the mansion in 1970, bringing the first national design museum to New York City. It is truly a Smithsonian museum, but a loophole in its mission statement allows the museum to charge admission (unlike the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC wish are free).


Recently the museum and mansion were closed for a few years for a massive renovation, including refurbishment of the incredible woodworking that spans the floors, ceilings and interiors in the mansion. The gardens were also re-landscaped to their 1903 glory, and opened for the public to use. The museum reopened on December 12, 2014, with an expanded venue for world class design. Before reintroducing the museum’s design collection to the stately rooms, they allowed writers such as myself to roam the gorgeous halls, giving a tiny glimpse of what life may have been like when Carnegie and his family lived there.

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Who: Andrew Carnegie

What: The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Where: 2 East 91st Street

One Response to “Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum/ Andrew Carnegie Mansion”
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