The sheer amount of museums and cultural institutions in New York is mind-boggling—the city not only boasts world-class museums covering districts from the Upper East Side to the Lower East Side, but it also has entire neighborhoods dedicated to smaller galleries, such as Chelsea. There’s something for everyone here, from Chinese, Hispanic, and Jewish art to photography, natural history, and cutting-edge modern art. All you have to do is figure out what that is. With this list of the greatest museums in New York City, we’ve got you covered no matter what your interests are.
1. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as The Met, is a world-class museum and one of New York’s most popular tourist attractions. With almost two million works of art, it houses a varied spectrum of collections. This is one of America’s most recognized museums, and one of the best in the country, having been in operation for nearly 150 years.
Consider purchasing a CityPASS if you plan on visiting this and other museums. Discounts and skip-the-line admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the 911 Memorial and Museum, the Empire State Building, and ferry access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are all included.
2. American Museum of Natural History
With more than 33 million specimens and displays, the AMNH is one of the world’s greatest natural history Museums in New York City, educating and entertaining visitors for hours. Among the forty-five permanent display halls, the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the Hayden Planetarium, and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s The Dark Universe presentation are all must-sees. The museum provides self-guided tours, including one that includes exhibits from Ben Stiller’s film Night at the Museum. If the kids get hungry, there are a few places to eat inside. The museum is open every day of the year save Thanksgiving and Christmas.
3. Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum is housed in a stunning Beaux-Arts edifice. The city’s second-largest museum, with over 1.5 million works of art. As a result, it is well worth visiting when in New York; there is an astounding variety of magnificent things to see, and it has one of the world’s top Ancient Egyptian collections.
You can be admiring African antiques one minute, roaming around fascinating architectural features in the garden the next, and later, gazing at some of the amazing paintings on display, which span over three thousand years of art history.
4. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MoMA) was the first museum to devote its whole collection to modern art, opening in 1929. The massive museum was reopened in 2004 after an extensive makeover by architect Yoshio Taniguchi. Then, in October of 2019, MoMa reopened after another round of improvements. It is without a doubt one of New York’s most magnificent museums. With its collection of modern art, it is one of the largest and most influential museums in the world.
5. Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) found in 1923 to collect, preserve, and presenting things relevant to New York City’s original culture and history, from the gritty to the magnificent. The city was originally housed in Gracie Mansion. The current residence of the mayor of New York. But offers a new location on Fifth Avenue in a Georgian Colonial-Revival edifice. This museum has a large collection of unusual items, including several of Eugene O’Neill’s manuscripts, a full room of Duncan Phyfe furniture, 412 glass negatives by famous photographer Jacob Riis, a man’s suit worn to George Washington’s Inaugural Ball, and displays of graffiti writing and art from the 1970s and 1980s.
6. Whitney Museum of American Art
Former First Lady Michelle Obama opens the new Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District of the museums in New York City in 2015. From 1912 until the mid-1960s, works from the museum’s collection chart. The evolution of American modernism through the 1950s and into the 1960s. When the bold new painterly styles of Abstract Expressionism dominated. The artists shown are Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler, Edward Hopper, Lee Krasner, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Jackson Pollock. The Whitney’s reputation for innovation is matched by Renzo Piano’s architecture. The Whitney is a vast museum that may necessitate many visits in terms of planning.
7. The Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum hosts notable exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in addition to a magnificent collection of Judaica. The museum is located in the Warburg Mansion, which builds in 1908. It is a collection of over 28,000 items of art, antiques, and media projects. That’s quite a list. The museum aspires to be at the crossroads of art and Jewish culture for people of various backgrounds.
8. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is housed on a decommissioned aircraft carrier and is one of New York’s most distinctive museums. The museum features a variety of interactive exhibits and displays that are ideal for families and children.
The Space Shuttle Enterprise display, the opportunity to step inside a British Airways Concorde, and a tour of the submarine Growler are all highlights of a visit here.
9. Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Ellis Island is a spectacular and historic landmark where immigrants are processed upon entering the United States. Before being exposed to a medical examination, their paperwork also checks to see if they were in order.
The displays examine the lineage and identity of some of those who embarked on the journey. As well as the reasons for their departure and what the transatlantic voyage would have been like back then. Between 1892 and 1954, its uses as a point of entry, and over 12 million individuals were permitted to the country to begin their new lives. While many others failed their medicals or did not have the proper documentation, and were forced to return home miserably
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is a poignant spot worth seeing for its fascinating look at how many people came to be American.
10. Tenement Museum
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a historic tenement house. As the name suggests (two, if you want to get technical). On a tour of the tenements, you’ll learn about the personal histories of the working-class residents and witness them. How they made do with small spaces to start new lives in America. You may learn about the growth of the Lower East Side and how its thriving immigrant population made it. The most densely populated district in the country. During the 1900s was on a neighborhood walking tour, which is another way to see the museum.
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