Manhattan Museums and Culture

    Museum of Television & Radio, Midtown
  25 West 52nd Street - New York, NY           
Amidst the hustle and bustle of busy midtown Manhattan lays a tribute to the history of television and radio known as the Paley Center for Media (formerly known as The Museum of Television and Radio). Far from your typical museum, you will not find artifacts hidden behind glass enclosures or many “do not touch signs” here. Instead you will be delighted to find screening rooms, and a vast media collection from which you can choose an actual program and view it. Visitors are allowed to a selection of up to four programs per visit. There are also two, full-sized theatres which often feature public programs, so check the schedule and make sure you time your visit to catch one. This Manhattan museum also offers many family and educational programs. The “Re-Creating Radio Workshop”, teaches children (over 9) and adults to produce and re-create old time radio dramas, with the use of scripts, music and a variety of sound effects. This is a fun way for parents and children to experience media in the way that their grandparents used to enjoy the new world of multi-media. And if you remember the early days of broadcasting, come and reminisce the magic of your youthful imagination. The Paley Center really has something for everyone!
    Yeshiva University Museum, Greenwich Village+
  15 West 16th - New York, NY            
In the heart of Greenwich Village sits the beautiful Yeshiva University Museum. Dedicated to exploring 3000 years of the Jewish experience, each piece in the gloriously displayed museum has been handpicked to fully ensure a realistic depiction of the Jewish culture as it is represented around the world. Visitors are given the opportunity to not only view the exhibits but to experience them in a variety of ways. An exhibition arcade gives you the chance to go hands-on with a variety of attractions while the outdoor sculpture garden allows you to see life-sized displays of phenomenal quality and culture. For the little ones the museum offers a special workshop room where they can construct and interact while still learning the teachings of the Jewish people. The museum also offers a state-of-the-art AV Projection room and 250 seat auditorium which is used to host a variety of guest speakers, displays and shows. In Spring and Summer 2012, the museum will be continuing on with two very special exhibits including the “Trail of the Magic Bullet” which follows the Jewish encounter with medicine and “Silk Stones” which is a special dedication to the works by Rochelle Rubinstein. The Yeshiva University Museum is one of the best funded and maintained Jewish museums in the world and is well-worth a look when in New York City.
    Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Lower Manhattan
  Ellis Island - New York, NY             
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From Battery Park, you can take the ferry across to the famous Ellis Island Immigration Museum. You will be astounded by the wealth of information they have. Make sure you check out the American Family Immigration History Center where you can access passenger records. A great sense of pride comes with finding out about your family’s history by accessing this great interactive exhibit. The museum is also currently featuring a special exhibit in the west wing “The Spirit of America” Gibson Les Paul guitar is up on display. Made of artifacts preserved during the centennial restoration of the island, this exhibit is an amazing mixture of art, culture and beauty. Wood grain details from the preserved steps and doors of the main building really catch the eye, while the copper inlay is composed of copper preserved from the Statue of Liberty National Monument. While the creators seem to use the universal language of music to send a message of freedom and convey a great sense of pride for the land we call America. Visit often during the year to experience some of the most intriguing New York museums and culture. You may find you can spend a whole day lost in history at this one of-a-kind museum.
    The Hispanic Society of America, Harlem+
  613 West 155th Street - New York, NY           
Two beautiful lion sculptures perched on pedestals in all their majesty, greet you at the entrance of the Hispanic Society of America, upon walking up the grand stairs and into a world of vast history and culture. Amazingly enough, the admission at this Manhattan museum is free, in addition to the wealth of resources they provide for the curious mind. The vast collections here are unparalleled, with information on nearly every aspect of culture in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Boasting many archeological artifacts, paintings and sculptures, one will be awestruck at the beauty surrounding them. Just stepping inside this Manhattan museum provides great insight to the Spanish culture. Stop in and take a look at the wide variety of earthenware and porcelain artifacts from other museums. The collection of textiles is among the best in the world, with a fascinating selection of rare carpets that captivate and educate one in the history of each one-of-a-kind piece. If you are seeking to advance your understanding, gain a sense of self and your culture, or you if are simply desirous of surrounding yourself in the rich culture and beauty that abounds in this world, stop in for a spring or summer 2012 visit.
    South Street Seaport Museum, Lower Manhattan
  207 Front Street - New York, NY            
Gazing down the skyline, you might just find yourself lost in the distracting beauty of the breathtaking views. Ships sailing by, the sounds of waves churning off the schooners, this New York City museum takes you back to the time when trade and travel was all done by sea. Located in this vast historical district, a treasure trove of maritime history, lies some of the oldest buildings in Manhattan boasting renovations to mercantile buildings, ships and even the former Fulton Fish Market. Nearby you will also find a few modern tourist malls, although you might not want to venture too far as there are many things at this Manhattan museum that spark the curiosity of many a passerby. Located within the South Street Seaport Museum you will find a working 19th Century print shop, a craft center where wood carvers and model builders demonstrate their skills, much to the delight of visitors. Some might say the most impressive thing here is the privately owned fleet of historic ships, the largest such fleet in the United States. Similarly on display is an outstanding collection of model ships. Come and support maritime history and enjoy some of the many beautiful buildings, great food and street performers. A new experience bound to leave you longing to come back.
    New York City Fire Museum, Greenwich Village+
  278 Spring Street - New York, NY              
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Some of the bravest men and women in all the world are those who serve the community as fire fighters. The New York City Fire Museum pays homage to these public servants through a variety of art, artifacts and tributes to the fire fighters throughout history. Inside, visitors will find displays on all aspects of the firefighting legacy from the pictures and guidebooks of the very first volunteer firefighting brigades to the gear used by modern departments. The museum features real life engines and horse-drawn vehicles giving you a chance to see the progress of technology throughout history. The museum also plays home to a very special 9/11 tribute exhibit which keeps the memories of those brave souls who fought and died. Spring 2012 has additions to the 9/11 tribute with special displays made commemorating the emergency service workers that gave their lives on 9/11. Another Spring display includes the “Remembering Their Prayers” exhibit, a special tributes from the friends and family surrounding that tragic day. The New York City Fire Museum is a cornerstone to the valor and honor of these New York firefighters, an American legacy.
    New York City Police Museum, Lower Manhattan
  100 Old Slip - New York, NY            
From dreams of cops and robbers to the reality of daily service, the importance of our boys and girls in blue cannot be overlooked. The New York City Police Museum is dedicated to the honor and preservation of our brave men and women who daily risk their lives for our safety and wellbeing. Housed in the rustic First Precinct in Manhattan, the museum is a journey through time, highlighting the various traditions of the NYPD, and enhances public awareness. Visitors are encouraged to learn every aspect of the Police Department as the exhibits do more than just educate; they provide a firsthand account of the vast history of the police and New York itself. Spring 2012 continues to display the 9/11 exhibit, which acts as a memorial for all the brave men and women who unselfishly gave of their lives in service during the devastating 911 tragedy. On the lighter side, Summer 2012 finds the popular annual vintage police car show, for its twelfth season. For a chance to celebrate the heroes beyond the shield, the New York City Police Museum is essential visiting for all New York citizens.
    Museum of the City of New York, Harlem+
  5th Avenue & 103rd Street - Manhattan - New York, NY           
Nothing says New York City more than a museum dedicated to what New York is all about. At the Museum of the City of New York, patrons are allowed to link the past, present and future of NYC through a variety of presentations and exhibits designed to show the timeline of what New York’s evolution. When stepping through its doors on Manhattan’s famous Museum Mile, you will notice that an extensive remodeling and expansion project is under way. Several floors of memorabilia ranging from photographs, prints, theater mementos, costumes, and more are displayed in such a way as to show the affluent history of New York and to instill a sense of grandeur the city represents. Through Summer2012, the museum is continuing to offer state-of-the-art exhibitions including demonstrations on the social and economic growth of NYC. Visitors are encouraged to look at the projects including “Capitol of Capitol” which deals directly with New York banks and their effect on the global economy and “From Farm to City” which showcases Staten Island and its change from rural farmland to an urban center. The Museum of the City of New York is a phenomenal experience and a treasured look at one of the most fascinating cities in the world.
    Museum Of Jewish Heritage, Lower Manhattan
  18 1st Place - Battery Park Ciy - New York, NY            
The Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust honors those who died by celebrating their lives - cherishing the civilization that they built, their achievements and faith, their joys and hopes, and the vibrant Jewish community that is their legacy today.

In the Museum's core exhibition, personal objects, photographs, and original films illustrate the story of Jewish heritage in the twentieth century. The Museum's unique collection forms the solid foundation of this important archive, a significant educational resource for students, teachers, and scholars. In addition, the collection provides source materials for permanent and temporary exhibitions, and for traveling exhibitions.
    Dahesh Museum of Art, Midtown
  580 Madison Avenue - New York, NY            
One of the most overlooked eras of art is the European 19th to early 20th century works of such artists as Alma-Tadema, Barye, Leighton, Merson, Navez, Picou, Troyon, and Vernet. The Dahesh Museum of Art was opened with the sole principle of bringing these incredible pieces of art to life. The genesis esperienced at this Manhattan museum expands knowledge and impacts the world with these forgotten treasures. Within its cozy and small interior lie several exhibitions that showcase these artists and promote the vision on which the museum was founded. As the museum is more geared towards the education on this lost period of art, patrons are able to enjoy in-depth analysis of the work as presented by the museum curators. In Spring and Summer 2012, the museum has continued to acquire new and unique pieces with special focus being drawn to a variety of oil on canvas works which are sure to open eyes and enchant minds to all who visit. The Dahesh Museum of Art is more than just another theater district tourist attraction; it is an added value experience of a lost era that Manhattan is proud to call its own.
    El Museo Del Barrio, Upper East Side
  1230 5th Avenue - New York, NY           
Heralded by The New York Times as “an institution in its ascendancy”, El Museo del Barrio was founded in 1969 by artist Raphael Montañez Ortiz with the support of a group of Puerto Rican educators, artists, parents and community activists in East Harlem’s Spanish-speaking El Barrio. Since then, El Museo del Barrio has evolved into New York’s leading Latino cultural institution, having expanded its mission to represent the diversity of art and culture in all of the Caribbean and Latin America.
As the only museum in New York City that specializes in representing these cultures, El Museo del Barrio continues to have a significant impact on the cultural life of New York City and is now a major stop on Manhattan’s Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue. El Museo del Barrio thrives on the sustained excellence of its collections, exhibitions and public programming.
    Museum of Chinese American, Greenwich Village+
  70 Mulberry Street - New York, NY             
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The Museum of Chinese in America has the distinction of being one of the first museums to provide a link between the enriched Chinese culture and American society. Located in Manhattan, the Museum of Chinese in America strives to be a model amongst interactive museums and provides a cultural experience unlike many others in New York City. The museum itself curates and displays an expanded collection in a variety of innovative ways. Want to learn about the Chinese immigrants living in California? Why not watch it in a multimedia production available on the main floor. Want to bring a Chinese fieldtrip to school? Take advantage of the museum’s educational programs and curriculum. The museum also offers oral histories and firsthand accounts through its community workshops and projects giving visitors a strong sense of what the Chinese culture is all about. Spring 2012 continues in the traditions of innovative exhibits by featuring new displays focusing on the Tiananmen Square massacre, the history of Chinatown, and a walk through Chinese America in the Artists Talk series. The belief is that by increasing local and global dialogues, New Yorkers and Chinese alike will promote wellness and shape a better tomorrow. The Museum of Chinese in America is dedicated to doing just that.
    China Institute, Upper West Side
  125 East 65th Street - New York, NY           
In today’s society, it is very hard not to see the influence of Chinese culture and how it has shaped everything from medicine to our economy. The China Institute in Manhattan gives a deeper understanding of China through their programs in education, culture, business and art, and gives a strengthening of the global community by enhancing the knowledge of East and West. Inside the building, visitors will find more than your traditional artwork and instead find an education hub dedicated to all forms of communication and education supporting the understanding of China. While there, one has the opportunity to explore performing arts programs, lecture series, short courses, symposia, film screenings and workshops all revolving around China. Spring 2012 has a special focus on Chinese architecture and features a book signing for the novel “Chinese Architecture and the Beaux-Arts.” This event includes an in-depth lecture on this fascinating subject and is to be used as a catalyst to better understanding the development of Chinese architecture. The China Institute is one of New York’s best and only links to our neighbor to the east and should be a destination of anyone looking to expand their minds and better their understanding of the Chinese people.
    Children's Museum Of Manhattan, Upper West Side
  212 West 83rd Street - Manhattan - New York, NY            
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Children, as much as anyone, need a place to go where they can experience the world and explore the possibilities of science, art and society. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan gives families an opportunity to not only have a fun-filled and interactive museum experience but also to help jumpstart their child’s education. Located on the upper west side, the museum features some of the most unique and diverse exhibits in New York City. Children may find themselves in the EatSleepPlay center which allows them to build healthier lifestyles by experiencing hands-on the various functions of the human body. The family can then go to a live performance from a variety of top flight Broadway artists that all have a positive and enhancing message. In Spring 2012 the Children’s Museum celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by looking at various artists and writers who have helped shape the Pacific Asian culture. These artists and writers will be presented in such a way that children will grasp the concepts behind the work and help further stimulate their own thirsts for knowledge and understanding. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is a great time for the kid and the kid at heart and welcomes all families to their door.
    Museum of Modern Art, Midtown
  11 West 53rd Street - New York, NY              
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Upon entering, a copious amount of art speaks to your eyes, ushers you through the doors and into a world beyond your wildest dreams. Bringing to life some of the most amazing and detailed art you have ever seen, plan to come early and stay all day at this New York City museum. Paintings and sculptures entice you through the gallery, as your traverse the myriad of colors, textures and avant-garde esthetics. You are bound to find a few pieces that will stay engrained in your mind for years to come. As your vision returns to day-to-day Manhattan culture, prepare for some of the other facets of the artistic world that are offered here, such as classes, family oriented activities and even a “brown bag lunch lecture”. Throughout spring and summer of 2012, runs an exhibit titled “Murals for the Museum of Modern Art”. There could not be a more perfect time to gather the family and head over for a day filled with beauty and analytical thinking. Around every corner there lies something to be enjoyed and commended. The emotions that are encased within the art are themselves something one must feel for themselves to truly appreciate.
    Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Upper East Side
  2 East 91st Street - New York, NY              
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What is more life-like than life itself? The Cooper-Hewitt Museum in Manhattan asks this very question and provides a look at both the contemporary and historic design that helped shape our nation and the world. As part of the Smithsonian, one can expect an immense amount of information available for patrons that walk into this New York City museum. The curators strive to generate a more educational understanding of design and seek to show perspectives often overlooked by more conventional wisdom. The beauty of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum is not just within the museum itself but in the numerous programs endorsed by them as well. Visitors may find themselves in the design center watching today’s architects and designers formulating plans for tomorrow. They may find themselves in one of the museum’s renovation programs such as the Summer 2012 project on the Carnegie Mansion. Visitors may even find themselves attending special travelling exhibits endorsed by the museum such as the special summer exhibition of “Graphic Design-Now In Production” featured on Governors Island. The Cooper-Hewitt Museum is a very special destination and a true cultural landmark for any New York City experience.
    New Museum Of Contemporary Art, The, Greenwich Village+
  583 Broadway - New York, NY             
Bright displays and unique settings make the scene at Manhattan’s only contemporary art museum in the New Museum of Contemporary Art. This New York City Museum is distinctive, embodying traditional thought processes of those of contemporary artists in an impactful display much different than your traditional plate glass and roped off museum. The museum itself is open to the public with a vast variety of unique pieces and constantly has new things for visitors of all types to see. This Manhattan museum sports all kinds of exhibitions, ranging from sculptures, music and art of all sorts whether traditional or abstract. Contemporary Art is exploding with a creative variety that gives a little bit of something for all art lovers and art novices alike. Visitors under 18 can enter for free, and new exhibits continue to arrive in the Summer 2012. These new exhibits will be including work by Ellen Altfest, Phyllida Barlow, Tacita Dean, and other great talents from overseas. The New Museum of Contemporary Art promises to give a matchless and lasting memory for its visitors and expand our knowledge to a broad spectrum of creativity from around the world.
    Museum of Sex, The, Midtown
  233 Fifth Avenue (@ 27th Street) - New York, NY            
Ever wanted to know something about sex but were afraid to ask someone? Well a trip to the Museum of Sex is sure to answer most any question you have ever had about human sexuality. An ever growing museum filled with a vast wealth of knowledge, art and a resonance of desire. This Manhattan museum is one of the most diverse and innovative places you will ever visit. Push those hesitations to the side and allow yourself to delve into the creative and informational environment here. Exploring events, lectures, and publications without the concern for self-censorship one can easily put their inhibitions aside with no fear for judgment while touring the intriguing items on display. Here they are dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality. After you tour the unique site you might be enticed to visit the bar offering a wide range of sensually stimulating adult beverages and epicurean treats from local bakeries that could very well be that aphrodisiac you have been searching for. Correlating the relationships between food, drink and passion, the bar is considered the museum’s own hidden gem. Erotic, tasteful and overall an interesting place to go with your partner, friends or a day out by yourself.
    The Cloisters Museum, Harlem+
  Ft. Tryon Park - New York, NY           
Medieval Europe in New York? This implausible statement is very much a reality as you approach the Cloisters Museum branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This section of the museum has been built to resemble the architectural elements of the middle ages and takes you back in time. The museum itself is devoted to the art of the time period and offers a traditional museum experience by shares the faith of all the artists and artisans with work on display. The Cloisters is highly dedicated to maintaining its religious roots with the restoration of the Fuentiduena Chapel, featuring the most magnificent stain glass and hand crafted religious artifacts. The Cloisters has also been known to have a feel of a mini-city with their own restaurant and botanical garden designed to enhance the visiting pleasure. Summer 2012 continues with the traditions of bringing Europe to the masses, as more exhibits are on tap to make their way through the hallowed greatness that is the museum. If you are looking for a nice escape from city life and desire to feel transported into the world of yesteryear, then a trip to the Cloisters is highly recommended.
    Whitney Museum of American Art, Upper East Side
  945 Madison Avenue - New York, NY              
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The Whitney Museum houses one of the world's foremost collections of twentieth-century American art. The Permanent Collection of some 12,000 works encompasses paintings, sculptures, multimedia installations, drawings, prints, and photographs—and is still growing. The Museum was founded in 1931 with a core group of 700 art objects, many of them from the personal collection of founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney; others were purchased by Mrs. Whitney at the time of the opening to provide a more thorough overview of American art in the early decades of the century.
    Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Upper West Side
  91 Orchard Street - New York, NY            
Many Americans can trace their ancestral roots to immigration through the New York system. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum offers an opportunity to understand directly what their families went through. This Manhattan museum delivers a remarkable re-creation of New York City’s past. Apart from the traditional glass-housed displays, the museum goes above and beyond, featuring several reconstructed apartments that show the day-to-day life of New York immigrants. Complete with actors and actresses, these apartments allow visitors to assume the role of a newly arrived immigrant and interact as if they were really there. The tours of the apartments even give visitors the opportunity to handle the household objects and completely blur the line between yesterday and today. Summer 2012 goes a step further with a walking tour of the Lower East Side, providing a firsthand account of the when’s, where’s and why’s of immigrants in Manhattan. Another feature during the summer will be a series of educational lectures from today’s immigrants, providing a fresh perspective on the reasons for immigration and the hardships of migration. Unlike many more traditional museums, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a fully interactive experience that must be seen to be believed. Easily accessed from all of New York, one must make the time to find out exactly where their families came from.
    New-York Historical Society, Upper East Side
  170 Central Park West - New York, NY              
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The Society is dedicated to presenting exhibitions and public programs, and fostering research that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, its holdings cover four centuries of American history, and include one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, American art and other materials documenting the history of the United States as seen through the prism of New York City and State.
Forty thousand of the Society’s most treasured pieces are on permanent display in the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture, and a self-guided audio tour brings these artifacts to life with anecdotes and stories. Our collections provide the foundation for exploration of the nation’s richly layered past and support the Society’s mission to provide a forum for debate and examination of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.
    Studio Museum in Harlem, Harlem+
  144 West 125th Street - New York, NY           
There are very few places in the world that showcase an abundance of African influence and culture quite like Harlem. In the midst of Harlem lies the Studio Museum which houses work influenced by the African heritage and sets forth a dynamic exchange of ideas and society for all who visit. Inside this multi-story loft, patrons will find not only African artwork and sculptures, but also a plethora of photographs, writings and film all dedicated to enhancing your awareness about the beauty and rich cultures of the African people. The Studio Museum takes this learning experience a step further by offering a wide variety of education and public programs. Some of these programs include guest lectures, dialogues, performance art pieces and interpretive interactive displays. In Spring 2012, the museum will be continuing its tradition of offering unique exhibitions by featuring “Shift” which is a group of autonomous installations broken down and enhanced for the advanced understanding of African influence. The Studio Museum is a fantastic place to visit while in Harlem for people of all heritages and allows you to better understand the power and depth of the African culture and its integration into America.
    American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side
  Central Park West at 79th Street - New York, NY             
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The Museum boasts habitat groups of African, Asian and North American mammals, the full-size model of a Blue Whale suspended in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life (reopened in 2003), the 62-foot Haida carved and painted war canoe from the Pacific Northwest, and the "Star of India", the largest blue sapphire in the world. The circuit of an entire floor is devoted to vertebrate evolution, including the world-famous dinosaurs.
The Museum's anthropological collections are also outstanding: Halls of Asian Peoples and of Pacific Peoples, of Man in Africa, Native Americans in the United States collections, general Native American collections, and collections from Mexico and Central America.
The Hayden Planetarium, connected to the museum, is now part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space, housed in a glass cube containing the spherical Space Theater, designed by James Stewart Polshek. The Center was opened February 19, 2000. Source