Written by on 12.10.23

If you’re living in New York City, you may have overlooked all the museums the city has to offer, which is a common occurrence for residents of the City. It’s not all about Modern Art or the Renaissance, or natural history and dinosaur bones. How about spending some time at the museum that tells the story of the city that you live in at the Museum of the City of New York? The narrative of New York City—from its beginning as a small Dutch trading post to its status today as one of the world’s most important cities—unfolds through special exhibitions and the diverse collections of the museum. The permanent collection here contains over 3,000,000 items maintained by six curatorial departments: costumes, decorative arts, paintings and sculpture, prints and photographs, theater and toys.

Highlights include apparel worn at George Washington’s inaugural ball, silver objects from the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany, paintings by members of the Hudson River School, Currier & Ives prints, artifacts from various Broadway productions and several original handwritten manuscripts by Eugene O’Neill.

In addition to period rooms, exhibits explore the city’s cultural diversity, architecture and economic significance. Such exhibits include ongoing exhibitions Broadway! and Family Treasures: Toys and Their Tales. Using artifacts, photographs, audio and visual presentations, the exhibition Activist New York explores social activism from the 17th century up to the present, addressing historic preservation, civil rights, wages, sexual orientation and religious freedom.

Founded in 1923, the museum first opened in Gracie Mansion, now the mayor’s official residence. In 1932 it moved to its current home, a five-story neo-Georgian building designed by Joseph Freedlander. The education department offers concerts, walking tours, workshops, symposia, lectures and gallery talks.

The museum is located at 1220 5th Ave. between 103rd and 104th St. 212-534-1672. Hours are 10-9 Thurs. 10-5 Fri.-Mon. Call ahead for admission as it may vary on certain days.

Topics: NYC Arts & Culture