What’s the first thing that pops in your head when we say New York City? Skyline views? Green spaces? The Statue Of Liberty? Well, there are more than a hundred reasons why we love NYC. But there’s nothing that matches a history nerd or an art fanatic’s obsession with the ‘Big Apple’. Often called the ‘cultural capital’ of America, New York is replete with museums of all kinds that showcase the best of art, science and history. For some, these museums are national treasures and for others, purely snooze fests. But be assured, the ones on our list do not belong to the latter category. Serving up art,history and oddities, these museums are a must on a first timers’ itinerary.
American Museum of Natural History
Dedicated to human culture, the natural world, and the universe, the American Museum of Natural History is the largest such museum in the world. The museum focuses on a wide range of programmes involving scientific research, education and exhibitions. Presenting a panoramic view of world cultures, the museum’s halls are packed with works representing people and animals throughout the ages. With a 485,000 volume library on natural history that boasts of photo, film and manuscript collection, this cultural institution today enjoys an iconic status. Founded in 1869 and located on the Upper West Side, the museum has something to offer for everyone, including special exhibits for children.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Let’s face it. When it comes to The Met, it's the Met Gala that most of us look forward to. At least the millennials and fashion enthusiasts out there will agree with us on this. The extravagant outfits, celebrities walking down the red carpet, and an overdose of the glam quotient. What’s not to like? Well, art lovers around the world might beg to differ. The Metropolitan Museum of Art better known as The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world, showcasing the best of human creativity. Founded in 1870, the museum lives in three iconic sites in New York City - The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters. The museum’s galleries play host to several exhibitions and events throughout the year. We’d suggest doing a bit of research in advance to get an idea of what to expect when you get there.
Museum Of Modern Art
One of the world’s largest museums devoted to modern and contemporary art, the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan is nothing less than a temple for dedicated aficionados. With over 150,000 works, from European paintings and sculptures of the 18th century to contemporary film, design and performance art, the museum is committed to establishing, preserving and documenting a collection of the highest order. Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, MoMA has played a significant role in promoting modern art across the globe. Today, the museum is far more inclusive in its approach and features women and artists of colour. Recently, MoMA went through through a series of expansions, the latest one being in 2019, wherein 40,000 square feet of exhibition space was added, including a venue for live performances.
New York Historical Society
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It can be an overwhelming exercise to pick which museum to visit when in New York City. Let's make it easier. Not all museums boast of four centuries of history, heroes, legends, artefacts, art and live to narrate America’s true story. The first and the oldest museum of NYC, the New York Historical Society does all this and a lot more. Established in 1804 with the aim to preserve original records, authentic documents and artefacts, it’s home to city’s most beloved works including those of Thomas Cole, Rembrandt Peale, and Gilbert Stuart. The museum’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library has more than three million books, newspapers, maps, photographs and boasts of a neoclassical style of architecture. And when the hunger pangs kick in, one can enjoy a meal at Storico, an Italian restaurant set in the same premises.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
A visual masterpiece in itself, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum exhibits the best of modern and contemporary paintings and sculpture. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it houses works by Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and other artists from the 19th to the 21st century. However, more than the collection, it’s the building that caught our attention. The structure resembles a white ribbon curled into a cylindrical stack that grows continuously wider as it spirals upwards towards a glass ceiling. A stark contrast from the regular Manhattan buildings, it’s a landmark site for art lovers and other visitors alike.
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New York is America’s classic immigrant city. Considered one of the greatest cultural hubs in the country, different circumstances led to explosions of new wave of immigrants who moved to the city either looking for better job opportunities or escaping religious persecution. Celebrating this immigrant experience and the pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ is the Tenement Museum, an institution dedicated to highlighting the role of immigration in shaping the American identity.The tenement-turned-museum once housed 15,000 people, who immigrated from nearly 20 nations. Set on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the walking tour of the museum is quite informative and makes for a unique experience.