Treasures of New York: Cooper Hewitt

Air date: 06/23/2015

Treasures of New York: Cooper Hewitt Takes Viewers Behind the Scenes of the Renovations to the Nation’s Design Museum


Housed in the former mansion of steel titan, Andrew Carnegie, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum – a New York City and national historic landmark – is the nation’s first and only museum dedicated entirely to historic and contemporary design. Treasures of New York: Cooper Hewitt – premiering on Tuesday, June 23 at 7 p.m. on WLIW21 and Sunday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. – brings viewers a glimpse inside the multi-year, $91 million renovation project that has transformed the museum both inside and out.

While closed to the public for over three years, Cooper Hewitt underwent a massive, construction and preservation effort, conserving the landmarked home’s interior and fortifying it to meet the needs of a 21st-century museum.  In addition, the museum commissioned several leading design and media firms to create new, innovative technologies to boost visitor engagement. Today, the new Cooper Hewitt boasts 60% more gallery space and interactive features such as the critically acclaimed digital “Pen,” enabling visitors to interact with the museum’s collection in never before seen ways. Treasures of New York: Cooper Hewitt  illuminates the complete design process behind this major undertaking, and shares the story of how some of the world’s leading architects, artists, innovators and technologists came together to redesign America’s design museum.

Treasures of New York: Cooper Hewitt features interviews with members of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s curatorial staff and Board of Trustees, including Caroline Baumann, Director of Cooper Hewitt; Barbara A. Mandel, Chairman of the Board and Beth Comstock, President of the Board and Chief Marketing Officer at GE. The film also features several of the key architects and designers involved with Cooper Hewitt’s renovation, including Jake Barton, principal & founder of media design firm Local Projects; Richard W. Southwick, partner & director of historic preservation at architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle; Ricardo Scofidio, architect & partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the same architect and designer behind the High Line park; Eddie Opara, partner at global graphic design firm Pentagram; and Maira Kalman, renowned author and illustrator, and guest curator for one of the museum’s grand reopening exhibitions.

After the initial broadcast, the full episode will be available for online streaming at  The Treasures of New York website also offers past episodes about some of New York’s greatest institutions.

Treasures of New York: Cooper Hewitt is a production of WLIW LLC in association with WNET. WNET is the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV.

Ally Gimbel is producer. Director is Mary Lockhart. Diane Masciale is general manager of WLIW21 and executive producer of local production, including the Treasures of New York series.

Major support for Treasures of New York: Cooper Hewitt has been provided by Esme Usdan: Lemberg Foundation, Alexandra and Paul Herzan, Enid and Lester Morse, Judy Francis Zankel, Kathleen B. Allaire, Nancy A. Marks, and Margery and Edgar Masinter.



About WNET

As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as NatureGreat Performances, American MastersPBS NewsHour WeekendCharlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the MathOh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTSReel 13NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.


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