Agency history, 1881-

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  • Thompson, Paul Warwick
  • Wunder, Richard P
  • Taylor, Lisa 1933-1991
  • Pilgrim, Dianne H
  • Cooper, Peter 1791-1883
  • Cooper-Hewitt, Sarah 1859-1930
  • Burdell, Edwin S
  • Green, Amy Hewitt
  • Hare, Constance P
  • Hathaway, Calvin S
  • Hewitt, Eleanor Garnier
  • Rohlfing, H. Christian
  • Moggridge, Bill
  • Baumann, Caroline
  • Davis, John 1961 September 24-
  • Neuhold-Ravikumar, Ruki
  • Nicanor, Maria
  • Cooper-Hewitt Museum
  • Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum


Agency History


  • This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
  • Guide to the Smithsonian Archives, 1996
  • SI News Release, "Maria Nicanor Named Director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum," February 8, 2022,, accessed February 10, 2022
  • The first Directors of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum for the Arts of Decoration, as it was originally known, were Eleanor Garnier Hewitt, Sarah Cooper-Hewitt, and Amy Hewitt Green, granddaughters of Peter Cooper. On Sarah Cooper-Hewitt's death in 1930, control passed to a Board of Directors chaired by Constance P. Hare. In 1938 Edwin S. Burdell, Director of the Cooper Union, took over direction of the Museum. This arrangement seems to have lasted for some time. Calvin S. Hathaway was appointed Director in 1951 and served until 1963. He was succeeded by Acting Administrator, H. Christian Rohlfing, 1963-1968. Richard P. Wunder was Director, 1968-1969; followed by Lisa Taylor, 1969-1987; Dianne H. Pilgrim, 1988-2000; Paul Warwick Thompson, 2000-2009; Bill Moggridge, Director, 2010-2012; Caroline Baumann, 2013-2020; John Davis, Interim Director, 2020-2021; and Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar, Interim Director, 2021-2022. In February 2022 Maria Nicanor was named Director and will begin her tenure at the end of March.
  • For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of " above.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1881
  • 1881-


  • Decoration and ornament
  • Art museums
  • Art museum directors
  • Decorative arts


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00188

Full Record

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