Manhattan Museums and Culture

    Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Lower Manhattan

  Ellis Island - New York, NY             
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 Jewish Museum, Upper East Side
  1109 5th Avenue - New York, NY             
Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries. September 14, 2012 - February 3, 2013. Crossing Borders features a superb selection of over fifty Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic manuscripts from the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, one of the world’s richest collections of manuscripts and printed books related to medieval European Jewish culture. The manuscripts, many of them exquisitely illuminated, illustrate the fertile exchanges among Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the fields of religion, art, science, and literature. Included is one of the Bodleian's greatest treasures: the magnificent Kennicott Bible. Many of the works in the exhibition are on view in the United States for the first time.
For thousands of years, the Jewish heritage has helped shape the world’s societies and changed the landscape of art, literature and culture. The Jewish Museum located in Manhattan has been built exclusively to take visitors on a journey across the world and through time. Housed within the illustrious Warburg mansion on New York’s famous Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum comprises over 27,000 separate items all dedicated to the Jewish culture from hundreds of years old pressings and paintings to the most recent digital and video displays. Visitors can be drawn to these numerous exhibitions and have a variety of guides explaining the significance of the work and how it applies to today’s society. Also included at the museum, is a uniquely comprehensive body of radio and television programs related to the Jewish experience which allows visitors to fully grasp the conceptual application of Jewish culture. Spring 2012 offers a very special installation by Barbara Bloom; the first in a projected series featuring contemporary artists interacting with collection works. The entire Jewish Museum experience is one that is eye-opening, heartfelt and allows the world to understand how the Jewish people have continued to thrive and produce through perseverance, dedication and a will to better the world around them.
    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.
    Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Midtown
  12th Ave. & 46th Street - Pier 86 - New York, NY              
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Support your country and support our military heritage with a visit to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum! Located in the heart of Manhattan this museum dedicates itself to the exciting heroism that revolved around the Intrepid and all of the military installations associated with it. Visitors have an opportunity to experience the action first hand as the museum has been designed with interactivity as its base. Ever envision flying over the Atlantic in a jet fighter? The museum’s A-6 Cockpit simulator gives you that opportunity. Want to look at the inside of a submarine? The Growler Submarine exhibit has been specifically designed to allow that to happen. One of the other primary attractions of the museum is the accurate recreation of some of the most famous battles and events in Intrepid history. Visitors will get to hear, see and feel what these historic men and women experienced while serving their country. An exciting addition to the museum occurs in Spring 2012 when the Space Shuttle Enterprise becomes a permanent fixture as well. The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is a one of a kind experience that has something for everyone and deserves to be fully explored.
    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.
    Center for Jewish History, Greenwich Village+
  15 West 16th Street - Manhattan - New York, NY           
The Center for Jewish History is home to the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.
The collections at the Center constitute one of the most important resources for the documentation and exploration of the Jewish experience and include old and rare books, periodical collections, photos, memoirs, official decrees, personal letters, and contemporary publications about all aspects of Jewish identity. The art collections include posters, paintings, sculptures, archeological artifacts, historical textiles, and ceremonial objects.
    Onassis Cultural Center, Midtown
  645 Fifth Avenue - New York, NY           
A dream is nothing to fear, nothing to hide; a dream is something in which one takes pride. This center was the dream of one man. Aristotle Onassis passed away before he could make his dream a reality, however through his son Alexander his dream was fulfilled and more. The Onassis Cultural center is still carrying on the mission of Aristotle by presenting cultural and artistic activities concerning ancient, Byzantine and modern Hellenic civilization. A person could get lost in the amount of things the center has to offer, for all ages. Maybe viewing a documentary is your guilty pleasure, if so you are in luck as the center frequently screens documentaries. Perhaps poetry is more up you alley, you are welcome to have a seat and enjoy one of the many readings of poetry that frequent the center. In addition to theatre performances, art exhibits, and concerts there is bound to be something that tickles your fancy. Free admission never hurts, especially with everything that is offered. Head on over and show the family a fun time. As you step into a world rich in culture and diversity be prepared to learn and immerse yourself in everything there is to offer.
    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 Mathematics, Midtown
  11 East 26th Street - New York, NY             
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Welcome to the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), a 19,000 square feet with 30-plus high-tech interactive stations and attractions to get kids involved in the wonderful world of numbers! MoMath -- the coolest thing that ever happened to math!
MoMath was recently topped NY Mag's 2013 list of museums for kids!
    International Center of Photography, Midtown
  1133 Ave. of the Americas at 43rd - New York, NY            
Manhattan has the distinction of being home to some of the most wonderful museum experiences in the world. One of these stands out from the rest, as it grasps the simple idea of presenting a solitary moment for its visitors. The International Center of Photography gives its patrons an opportunity to gaze at frozen moments in time and bring public attention to outstanding achievements in photography. Inside the enormous glass windows that make up the entrance lies some of the most dynamic exhibitions ever presented in the New York Museum scene. Current exhibits include works by Weegee, dealing with New York crime and news events and the first American presentation of Christer Stromholm’s “Les Amies de Place Blanche.” On top of the already vast selection of pictures and exhibits, Spring and Summer 2012 will have the museum partnered up with several instructors to provide hands-on classes for the aspiring photographers of tomorrow. This museum also houses the only library dedicated to photography, which presents even more opportunities for visitors to engulf themselves in this culture. In the simplest terms, the International Center of Photography is a life changing experience that will leave its crowds speechless and give everyone a chance to experience New York like never before.
    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.
    Chelsea Art Museum, Greenwich Village+
  556 West 22 - New York, NY             
Home of the Miotte Foundation, is committed to an exploration of “art within a context.” This approach favors a program of exhibitions which reflect contemporary human experience across a broad spectrum of cultural, social, environmental and geographical contexts. CAM’s exhibitions, each supported by a rich series of related cultural events and educational programs, seek to support in both its artists and audiences a sense of creativity, community and cultural exchange.
    Metropolitan Museum of Art, Upper East Side
  5th Avenue & 82nd Street - New York, NY             
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George Bellows - November 15, 2012–February 18, 2013. Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide. Gallery 999. George Bellows (1882–1925) was regarded as one of America's greatest artists when he died, at the age of forty-two, from a ruptured appendix. Bellows's early fame rested on his powerful depictions of boxing matches and gritty scenes of New York City's tenement life, but he also painted cityscapes, seascapes, war scenes, and portraits, and made illustrations and lithographs that addressed many of the social, political, and cultural issues of the day. Featuring some one hundred works from Bellows's extensive oeuvre, this landmark loan exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of the artist's career in nearly half a century. It invites the viewer to experience the dynamic and challenging decades of the early twentieth century through the eyes of a brilliant observer.
Once you step between the doors of this monumental edifice of man’s artistic achievement, you enter into a living body of culture and civilization collected from the four corners of the earth. Ancient Egyptian artifacts, Japanese silk tapestries, Mediaeval Chess pieces, oils and watercolors of Van Gogh, Turner, Rembrandt and Chagal, Collections of Native American art and crafts through the centuries, the opportunities are endless for seeing the wonders of man’s imagination and creative genius. The MET is a NY tourist attraction that holds tours for school classes, seminars on the restoration of ancient shards of daily life, and places you in the midst of cultures from around the world without ever having to step foot on a plane. Where else can you go and enjoy scrumptious art like Faberge eggs, the celebration of baseball in the collection of player cards or imagine yourself wrapped in a mummy cloth. Open every day but Monday and easy to get to, there is every reason in the world to come to the MET, the center of Manhattan museums and culture, spend the day and even eat some of the most delicious food in The City. The main building, often referred to simply as "the Met," is one of the world's largest art galleries, and has a much smaller second location in Upper Manhattan, at "The Cloisters," which features medieval art.
    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.
    Ground Zero Museum Workshop, Greenwich Village+
  420 West 14th street, Floor 2 - New York, NY            
Ground Zero Museum Workshop is the only museum of its kind in New York. You won't see images like these anywhere in the world. The museum also features lifelike "3-D Installations" that place viewers right into the "hole" at Ground Zero. We allow certain items/artifacts to be picked up and handled. This is allowed so visitors have a more interactive experience with the hopes of having a greater understanding of what took place during the Recovery. For example, visitors will be able to pick up WTC window glass and steel. Observing the weight and density of such items helps one to have a better understanding of the size and mass of the towers. Some remnants are on temporary loan from Ground Zero recovery workers and firemen. There are no "victim's identifiable personal belongings" in this museum; only remnants from September 11.
    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.
    National Sports Museum, Lower Manhattan
  26 Broadway - New York, NY           
Nothing has shaped the world quite the same as sports. On the heart of Broadway in Manhattan sits the illustrious National Sports Museum which is dedicated to featuring the celebration of sports and the impact it has had on our culture and our lives. Inside this technologically advanced structure is an amazing assortment of interactive exhibitions, in-depth retail areas and some of the finest dining in all of New York. The center attraction begins with the immersion theater which is a 360-degree display that shows a presentation on the history and progression of sports. As visitors continue on, they will find themselves in a variety of different exhibits dealing with every major sport imaginable. You will get to see a historical timeline of the individual sports as well as video presentations on what makes that sport so great. Another feature of the National Sports Museum is the exploration of the perfect athlete. The museum presents the mental, physical and psychological preparation that goes into becoming a great athlete. Through the science, the presentation and the sheer charisma that this building produces, the National Sports Museum is a landmark in New York and one of the single best experiences available to sports fans today.
    Statue of Liberty Museum, Lower Manhattan
  Liberty Island - New York, NY           
What speaks to American Freedom quite like the Statue of Liberty? Liberty Island, right off the coast of Manhattan, hosts this world famous landmark that has been featured as an American symbol of freedom for generations. Inside the statue itself is an amazing museum experience unlike anything in the world. This Lower Manhattan museum has an extensive collection of the history behind the statue and offers an insight into the hows and whys of the construction of the monument. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the various chambers of the statue and gaze upon the many exhibits including looks at some of the dismantled original pieces such as the original torch which is now inside. An added attraction is the Ranger tours which take visitors around the island itself while enlightening and explaining the immense wealth of knowledge associated with the statue. Although closed through Summer 2012 due to renovation, visitors can still see many of the museum’s pieces including the special American Chopper “Liberty Bike” now housed in a special outdoor exhibit. No trip to New York is complete without visiting the Statue of Liberty and of course the Statue of Liberty Museum.
    Morris-Jumel Mansion, Harlem+
  65 Jumel Terrace - New York, NY           
It's true! Washington made his headquarters here at the Mansion during the fall of 1776. It was during this period that the General's troops forced a British retreat at the Battle of Harlem Heights. The house was built eleven years before the Revolution, in 1765, by British Colonel Roger Morris and his American wife, Mary Philipse. The breezy hilltop location proved an ideal location for the family's summer home. Known as Mount Morris, this northern Manhattan estate stretched from the Harlem to the Hudson Rivers and covered more than 130 acres. Loyal to the crown, the Morrises were eventually forced to return to England as a result of the American victory.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    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.
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