Upper West Side Museums and Culture

1
American Museum of Natural History, 10024 Planetarium
  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
2
Lower East Side Tenement Museum, 10025 Cathedral
  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.
3
China Institute, 10023 Ansonia
  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.
4
Children's Museum Of Manhattan, 10024 Planetarium
  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.