Manitoga's mission is to preserve the legacy of pioneer designer Russel Wright — his home, landscape, products, archives and philosophy — and share them with professionals and the public.
Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center preserves and protects Russel Wright's Home, Studio and Woodland Garden at Manitoga as a learning laboratory about the importance of living in harmony with nature and the value of good design in everything and for everyone. We offer opportunities for the public and professionals to experience and learn about Russel Wright's philosophy, design ideas, life work and legacy as resources for improving and enhancing their own lives and communities.
Manitoga Inc. is the non-profit organization that assumes stewardship of the site and collections, and offers programs and tours for professionals and the public. To better reflect its mission, the name Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center was adopted in 2001.
RUSSEL WRIGHT AND MANITOGA
In the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the signature on a set of dinnerware or piece of furniture elicited instant response. At that time, Wright was one of the best known designers in the U.S. At the apex of his career, Wright left New York City and moved his base of operations to Garrison. It was here that he created a unique home and designed landscape. He named it Manitoga, meaning place of the great spirit in Algonquin. Wright shared the Native Americans' respect for the earth.
When Wright first found this property in 1942, it had been damaged by a century of quarrying and lumbering. Over the next three decades, until his death in 1976, he carefully redesigned and re-sculpted Manitoga's 75 acres using native plants, his training as a theater designer and sculptor, and his innovative design ideas. Though the landscape appears natural, it is actually a careful composition of woodland trees, rocks, ferns, mosses, and wild flowers.
Wright created over four miles of paths that wind over creeks, into woods, among boulders, and through ferns and mountain laurel to focus visitors' attention on the importance of living in harmony with nature.
Manitoga is the only 20th century modern homesite open to the public in New York, and one of few on the east coast. Wright considered it his most important creative effort. In 2006, Manitoga was named a National Historic Landmark.
Program support and capital programs are funded, in part, by:
and the New York State Community Capital Assistance Program through the office of
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef.