The holiday season turned brighter on east 91st Street and Fifth Avenue in New York on Friday, when the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum‘s Carnegie mansion reopened to the public after a 3-year hiatus. The goal was to “provide cutting edge digital experiences,” as director Caroline Baumann said at the official ceremony.
To stay competitive, most museums now are redesigning, but renovating isn’t exclusive to the art world. Many companies, like hotels, banks, stores, and other retailers can look to Cooper Hewitt’s approach if they undergo branding, communications and design changes.
The mission of Cooper Hewitt’s multifaceted program was to “renovate and reinvent” the museum, Baumann noted. That entailed coordinating 13 design firms to refresh the landmark mansion and grounds as well as a concerted PR, marketing and merchandising effort.
Keeping various audiences informed was a key part of the plan. Cooper Hewitt did so through media outreach, member e-newsletters and mailings, a blog highlighting daily objects, social media updates, and clever building signage with messages about the redesign progress.