One of the last gifts in an $89 million campaign launched in 2006 — and the largest ever to the museum — will be used flexibly to complete the renovation of the museum, which is scheduled to reopen with 60 percent more gallery space in the fall of 2014. Among other things, the gift will enable the museum to provide visitors with more interactive experiences and improve digital access to the more than two hundred thousand objects in its permanent collection. In recognition of the gift, the new third-floor gallery, which provides an additional six thousand square feet of exhibition space, will be renamed the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery.
Barbara Mandel joined the Cooper-Hewitt board of trustees in 1997 and has been a member of the board's executive committee since 1998. Most recently, she served on its executive search committee, which resulted in the appointment of Caroline Baumann as the museum's fifth director.
"Design empowers us on so many levels, and Mort and I are thrilled to support Cooper-Hewitt as it begins a new era," said Mandel. "Having been on the board for seventeen years, it is truly gratifying to see this organization expand physically and digitally. In preparation for the opening, we've made a quantum leap in terms of digital access to our extraordinary collection, which will be the backbone of our new visitor experience."