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New York City Museums: Big Apple's Art & History Collections

City Guide September 22, 2023

 

 

Welcome to the Big Apple! New York is a city for everyone— the foodies, the adventurers, art and culture lovers, you name it. Beyond the skyscrapers and the Michelin-starred holes in the wall, you can find a wealth of captivating stories and artistic wonders within its many world-renowned museums.

For the curious souls seeking art and history, the city's museums are a trove of art collections and history collections. With an impressive array of institutions, each boasting its unique flair and exhibits.

In this guide, we'll discuss some of our favorite New York City Museums. From the infamous MET to other lesser-known institutions, we'll have a variety of museums that explore art and history in NYC museums.

Museums entail a lot of walking and being surrounded by priceless artifacts, meaning one thing— pack light. Could you imagine roaming a museum with a suitcase? For starters, it's not allowed, and secondly, one wrong move, and you're indebted for the rest of your life. So let's avoid that with a Nanny.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

It's not just a venue for celebrities to wear outlandish outfits. It's actually a great museum of the city! Welcome to The Met or The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the crown jewel of NYC museums.

With a collection of over 5,000 years of human history and artistry, this iconic institution is a paradise for art enthusiasts and history lovers. Each corner of The Met houses treasures that will leave you in awe.

Take advantage of the Egyptian galleries, with captivating mummies and ancient artifacts, or the European Paintings section, featuring masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and more. Prepare to be transported through time and across continents as you wander through the halls of The Met.

Good to know: New York always has tourists, but the height of the season is around Christmas and late spring.

Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028 Hours: Open daily, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Fridays and Saturdays until 9:00 PM).

Price: $30 for adults, $22 for seniors, $17 for students

 

The American Museum of Natural History

Here, science comes alive, and you'll encounter mammoth dinosaurs towering above, fossilized remains of ancient creatures, and immersive dioramas that transport you to far-off landscapes. But in a chill way, not in a “night at the museum” way. When you visit, don't miss the awe-inspiring Hayden Planetarium, where you can journey through the cosmos in shows narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Check out the Hall of Biodiversity, a celebration of Earth's incredible variety of life and the importance of conservation.

Address: Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY 10024 Hours: Open daily, 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM Price: $28 for adults; $16 for kids; $22 for student

 

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The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

MoMA is a vibrant temple to modern and contemporary art that celebrates the creativity of humanity. MoMA invites you to explore the art that shaped the 20th and 21st centuries. Immerse yourself in Vincent van Gogh's iconic "The Starry Night" and marvel at the playful yet profound masterpieces of Picasso and Matisse.

A must-see exhibit is the captivating "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," Picasso's groundbreaking and controversial work that revolutionized the art world. During the height of tourist season you might have to fight your way for a glance, but it's well worth it.

The MoMA has free Fridays, the first Friday of every month!

Address: 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019 Hours: Open daily, 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM (Fridays until 9:00 PM)

Price: $25 for adults; $18 for qualifying seniors; $18 for students

 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Ah, the Guggenheim, try saying that three times. Take a journey through art and architecture at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece that is a work of art itself. The museum's circular design creates a dynamic and immersive experience as you ascend its spiral ramps, allowing an uninterrupted flow through the exhibits. The Guggenheim's collection boasts an impressive array of modern and contemporary art, featuring artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, and Pablo Picasso.

Don't miss Kandinsky's "Composition 8," a captivating abstract piece that embodies the spirit of artistic experimentation. The Guggenheim is a haven for art and architecture lovers alike and anyone who likes the word Guggenheim.

Address: 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128 Hours: Closed on Thursdays; Open on other days, 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM (Tuesdays and Saturdays until 8:00 PM) Price: $16 for adults; $8 for qualifying seniors; $8 for students if purchased online

 

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The Whitney Museum of American Art

Established in 1931 under the guidance of sculptor and art enthusiast Gertrude Vanderbilt, the Whitney Museum of American Art is on a mission to showcase the creative endeavors of American artists. Within its walls, an impressive collection of approximately 15,000 artworks by nearly 2,000 artists, including luminaries such as Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, and Georgia O'Keeffe, come together to tell a compelling narrative of American creativity.

However, the museum's fame and allure predominantly stem from its temporary exhibitions, and one, in particular, is bound to spark passionate discussions—the Whitney Biennial. Held biennially (in even-numbered years), this highly regarded and equally contentious event is the epitome of contemporary American art assessment. The biennial pushes boundaries and starts conversations at the end of the day. isn't that what art is all about?

Good to Know: The museum showcases the entire estate of Edward Hopper, an acclaimed artist whose legacy finds a home with his permanent collections in the Whitney.

Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014 Hours: Open daily, 10:30 AM - 6:00 PM (Fridays and Saturdays until 10:00 PM) Price: $30 for adults; $24 for qualifying seniors; $24 for students

 

The Frick Collection

The Frick Collection is usually housed within a Gilded Age mansion. It has temporarily closed for renovation. Now housed at The Frick Madison, this cultural gem features European masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya, set amidst an elegant backdrop of period furnishings and tranquil gardens.

Though the setting has changed, The Frick Madison promises a remarkable journey through art history, presenting an exciting chapter in the esteemed legacy of The Frick Collection and one of the best gift shops in NYC.

Address: 1 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021 Hours: Closed on Mondays; Open on other days, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM (Sundays until 5:00 PM)

Price: $22 for adults; $17 for qualifying seniors; $12 for students

 

New York Transit Museum

Housed in a former subway station, the New York Transit Museum is an engaging museum that invites you to explore vintage subway cars, historic buses, and fascinating exhibits on the city's transit history. Here, you can learn about the history and evolutions of New York City's transportation.

The "Steel, Stone, and Backbone" gallery is a must-see. Here, you can learn about the engineering marvels behind the city's iconic bridges and tunnels. The Transit Museum offers a delightful ride through the heart of the city's past and present, and it's the perfect place to visit for history and transportation enthusiasts.

Address: Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Hours: Closed on Mondays; Open on other days, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Price: $10 for adults; $5 for qualifying seniors; $5 for students

 

Brooklyn Museum

We're leaving Manhattan and going to Brooklyn— it still counts as one of the Big Apple’s museums. It's worth it, we promise. This museum offers art and less of a crowd. See, we told you it was worth it.

Embark on a journey through art history as the collection showcases luminous works by revered Impressionist masters, including Cézanne, Monet, and Degas.

Oh, and don't miss the "Arts of Africa" exhibit, a vibrant celebration of African creativity, or the "Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity" collection, which unravels the mysteries of ancient Egyptian civilization!

Address: 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238 Hours: Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; Open on other days, 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM (Saturdays until 8:00 PM) Price: $16 for adults; $10 for qualifying seniors; $10 for students

Honorable mentions: Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty, and its National Museum of Immigration, the former World Trade Center, which hosts the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, dedicated to the tragic events, and the Empire State Building.

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