Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library is the major resource in the United States for books, trade catalogs, serials, pictures, and archival material covering design and decorative art from the Renaissance to the present. Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Library explore the theory, history, process, material, pattern, use, and social aspects of designed objects (ranging from stained glass to computers) as well as the design of gardens, buildings, interiors, theater sets, and cities. The Library also features more than 15,000 Rare and Restricted Use treasures including several 16th century lace patterns guides, rare 18th century brass and furniture trade catalogs, approximately 2,000 pop-up books, and historic home decorating periodicals. 

Using the Library

Please schedule an appointment 24 hours in advance by email via if you wish to use the library.  Please specify your research interests, university or other affiliation (if you have one), and the time and date of your visit.

The online catalog of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries is available on SIRIS, the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. This catalog shows the holdings of all of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. The Cooper Hewitt Library collections are housed both at the Miller-Fox houses at 9 East 90th street, New York City, and at an offsite facility in Newark, New Jersey. Materials in SIRIS indicating that they are located in Newark (CHMNK) can be obtained for researchers with advance notification. Library staff is happy to provide guidance in searching SIRIS, electronic databases, and all other on-site resources. Library staff accepts reference inquiries by letter, telephone, or e-mail.

Access and Public Transit

  • Library researchers enter through the entrance on 9 East 90th Street.
  • Public transit routes include the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 subways (86th or 96th Street station) and Fifth or Madison Avenue buses.