The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, revamped, restored and expanded after a three-year closure, has reopened at last, all decked out for the 21st century in its historic Carnegie Mansion home just a few blocks up Fifth Avenue from the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Visitors to the museum will be hard-pressed to recognize the old-fashioned, somewhat wonky entity of old. Come ready to experience a new kind of museum straddling art and science, 19th century architecture and a 21st century Jetsons sort of world, where 3-D designs can be downloaded and hundreds of wallpaper patterns can be viewed (or designed) at the touch of a finger. Visitors are invited to use the museum as a practical design resource and exploration center as much as a museum in the traditional sense.
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