Society & Culture
Designing with a Heart
Cara McCarty, Director of Curatorial at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, speaks with INCLUDEnyc Senior Family Educator Ruth DiRoma about the history of the museum, accessible design, and their favorite pieces from the latest exhibitions.
McCarty oversees the museum’s curatorial vision and leads exhibition planning. She played a lead role in the 2014 renovation and transformation of Cooper Hewitt into a 21st-century museum, from the overall master plan to the creation of new gallery spaces and participatory visitor experiences. Previously she was curator and head of the department of decorative arts and design at the Saint Louis Art Museum, where she established the museum’s 20th-and 21st-century design collection, and was instrumental in the museum's expansion. Prior to that, McCarty held curatorial positions in the department of architecture and design at The Museum of Modern Art. Her numerous exhibitions and accompanying publications include Access+Ability; Tools: Extending Our Reach, National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?, Structure and Surface: Contemporary Japanese Textiles, Masks: Faces of Culture, and Information Art: Diagramming Microchips. She received a bachelor's degree in Architectural History and East Asian Art from Stanford University and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard's Graduate School of Design.
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