Sarah & Eleanor Hewitt: Designing a Modern Museum chroniclesthe colorful lives and contributions of the dynamic sisters and explores howthey created The Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration. Througharchival photography and documents, personal drawings and correspondence, newsclippings and ephemera, the exhibition introduces the sisters as educators,collectors, and philanthropists.
In the early1890s, Sarah and Eleanor began designing a museum for the arts of decorationwithin The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the publicschool founded by their grandfather, Peter Cooper, in 1859. Modeled on theMusée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the sisters followed advice from thedirectors of the Paris museum on how to organize, collect, and exhibit objectsfor their museum and library.
This exhibitionmarks the 125th anniversary of the opening of the museum galleries at CooperUnion in 1897, and celebrates the Smithsonian Institution’s 175th year.