Matriculating in the MA History of Decorative Arts and Design program means enrolling in New York City or Paris. Home to some of the world's most important collections of design and decorative arts and central to the art marketplace, the two cities present ideal locations for graduate study. Students attend exhibitions, dealers' fairs, and auctioneers' presale shows.
The program's New York home, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historical and contemporary design. Most classes are held in the program's suite of rooms on the museum campus, where students meet and work with renowned curators, designers, collectors, and scholars. Students have access to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library, which remains open evenings and weekends for the exclusive use of program participants.
The Cooper-Hewitt Museum is housed in the historic Carnegie mansion on Fifth Avenue. Cooper-Hewitt's affiliation with the Smithsonian allows students free access to most of the country's museums. Students can take advantage of other nearby museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, and the Neue Gallerie, each of which include senior staff members who trained in the Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt MA program.
Students at Parsons Paris will benefit from opportunities to conduct research using local collections and work with curators, educators, and visiting scholars there. The city is known for its museums, galleries, auction houses, archives, and historic houses, and Parsons' relationship to these cultural institutions creates new opportunities for students to access these resources in their research.
Students in the decorative arts and design history program may also enroll in the other graduate courses offered by Parsons. In collaborating with Parsons students training to be design practitioners, students in the MA learn to better understand the cultural forces that shape the contemporary material world as well as acquire an appreciation of the role that design plays in it.