The museum is housed in the former mansion of steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Built by Cook, Babb & Willard from 1899 to 1901, the home featured 64 rooms including vast public rooms, a conservatory, one of the first passenger elevators in a private home, and a very early version of central air conditioning.
Today, it is one of only two full-block mansions on Fifth Avenue left from the Gilded Age (the other is the former home of Carnegie's crony Henry Clay Frick). It is well worth a visit both for its architecture and to see the collections of its current tenant, the Cooper-Hewitt, which is the Smithsonian's National Design Museum.
Much more about Carnegie and his mansion can be found in Inside the Apple.
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Also in the news: a nice story in the October 20 issue of the New York Observer about the house on West 11th Street that was blown up by the Weather Underground, who have been in the news so much lately vis a vis Bill Ayers and Barack Obama.
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