Maria Nicanor Is The New Director Of Cooper Hewitt In NYC.

Maria Nicanor, a curator and historian, has been named the new director of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, following a lengthy interim period following former director Caroline Baumann’s departure in 2020.

Maria Nicanor Is The New Director Of Cooper Hewitt In NYC.

Maria Nicanor Is The New Director Of Cooper Hewitt In NYC.

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Nicanor, who begins in the role officially on March 21, joins the museum as it celebrates its 125th anniversary. He will be in charge of a collection of about 215,000 objects, 86 employees, and a $15 million budget each year.

Her responsibilities will include overseeing the Cooper Hewitt museum’s exhibition programme, which will include a newly launched digital exhibition platform.


Nicanor will also be in charge of a number of educational projects, including Cooper Hewitt’s annual National Design Awards, which are meant to show the power and significance of design.

“Joining the Smithsonian family and building on Cooper Hewitt’s previous success allows me to combine the three most important pillars of my career: design and architecture, public service, and museum work,” Nicanor said.


“We cannot ignore the fact that this is a particularly difficult time for museums in general at the moment. Not only what we do, but also how we do it, for whom and with whom are critical considerations for design museums.”

Nicanor will “assist Cooper Hewitt in reaching audiences worldwide.”

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Nicanor is a curator and historian of architecture and design, as well as the executive director of the Rice Design Alliance (RDA), a public outreach programme run by Houston’s Rice School of Architecture since 1972.

She has extensive experience working in art and design museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the V & A in London. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the Norman Foster Foundation in Madrid.

Maria Nicanor Is The New Director Of Cooper Hewitt In NYC.

Maria Nicanor Is The New Director Of Cooper Hewitt In NYC.

Maria possesses an extraordinary passion for design and a keen understanding of the impact it has on our shared future, said Lonnie Bunch, Smithsonian secretary.

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“Her vision and leadership will help Cooper Hewitt reach more people in the United States and around the world.”

The appointment follows Caroline Baumann’s 2020 resignation as director.

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum is located on Museum Mile on New York City’s Upper East Side. There are 19 museums in the Smithsonian Institution, which is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. This one is one of them.

Caroline Baumann, who led the museum from 2013 to 2020, resigned after an investigation into how she bought a wedding gown and a venue. Nicanor’s appointment comes in the wake of her resignation.

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