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Museum of the City of New York

Explores the past, present, and future of New York City and celebrate its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation – enables us to present a variety of exhibitions, public programs, and publications, all investigating what gives New York its singular character.

Information

Location

1220 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Directions

6 Train to 103rd Street; walk three blocks west
2, 3 Train to 110th Street; walk one block east to Fifth Avenue, then south to 103rd Street

Hours

Monday - Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost

$10 with college ID
Ages 19 and under: Free

Website

mcny.org

 

Current Exhibitions

New York at its Core: A "Must See" Ongoing Exhibition(Opens November 2016)
In November 2016, the Museum of the City of New York will launch its landmark exhibition New York at Its Core, the first-ever museum presentation of New York City’s gripping, four-century story of growth and transformation. Featuring the diverse faces of New York and utilizing one-of-a-kind artifacts, historic photographs, archival film and interactive digital experiences, the exhibition will occupy three galleries on Museum’s first floor, culminating with the Future of the City Lab. Animated and framed by New York’s defining characteristics—the frequently explosive interactions of money, diversity, density and creativity—visitors will come away with a new understanding of what makes New York tick. New York at Its Core will provide a must-see experience for everyone fascinated by the city—including New Yorkers, visitors from all over the globe, and students of all ages.

Gilded New York (Ongoing)
Inaugurating the Museum's Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery, Gilded New York explores the city's visual culture at the end of the 19th century, when its elite class flaunted their money as never before. In New York, this era was marked by the sudden rise of industrial and corporate wealth, amassed by such titans as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jay Gould, who expressed their high status through extravagent fashions, architecture and interior design. The exhibition presents a lavish display of some 100 works, including costumes, jewlery portraits, and decorative objects, all created between the mid-1870s and the early 20th century, The dazzling works in the exhibition will illuminate an era when members of the new American aristocracy often displayed their wealth in storied balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and hotels. It was a time when New York became the nation's corporate headquarters and a popular Ladies' Mile of luxury retail establishments and cultural institutions helped launch the city to global prominence.

Timescapes: A Multimedia Portrait Of New York (Ongoing)
A three-screen multimedia film, tracing New York from its origins to its current life as one of history's great cities.

Activist New York (Ongoing)
In a town renowned for its in-your-face persona, citizens of the city have banded together on issues as diverse as historic preservation, civil rights, wages, sexual orientation, and religious freedom. Using artifacts, photographs, audio and visual presentations, as well as interactive components that seek to tell the entire story of activism in the five boroughs, Activist New York presents the passions and conflicts that underlie the city's history of agitation.

Gay Gotham (October 7, 2016-February 26, 2017)
New York has long been a beacon for gay and lesbian artists seeking freedom, acceptance, and community. Gay Gotham brings to life the gay creative networks that sprang up in the city across the 20th century--a series of artistic subcultures whose radical ideas had lasting effects on the mainstream. Peeling back the layers of New York’s gay and lesbian life that thrived even in the shadows, this groundbreaking exhibition reveals an often-hidden side of the history of New York City and celebrates the power of artistic collaboration to transcend oppression. Visitors will encounter well-known figures, from Mae West to Leonard Bernstein to Andy Warhol, and discover lesser-known ones, such as feminist artist Harmony Hammond, painter and writer Richard Bruce Nugent, and transgender artist Greer Lankton. Surprising relationships emerge: Warhol and Mercedes de Acosta; Robert Mapplethorpe and Cecil Beaton; George Platt Lynes and Gertrude Stein. Comprising two full galleries, Gay Gotham features the work of these artists, including paintings and photographs, as well as letters, snapshots, and ephemera that illuminate their personal bonds and reveal secrets that were scandal-provoking in their time and remain largely unknown today.

From Teasponns to Titanic: Recent Acquisitions (August 4, 2016-December 18, 2016)
Since its founding in 1923, the Museum of the City of New York has celebrated and interpreted the city and educated the public about New York’s heritage and distinctive character. From Teaspoons to Titanic: Recent Acquisitions showcases a selection of new additions the museum’s collection, including a deck chair from RMS Titanic, souvenir spoons depicting New York scenes, works by several notable photographers, and Richard Haas’s preparatory paintings for New York street murals—all of which speak to the life of the city.

Art and the Young Imagination: Four Decades of Studio in a School (Opens January 14, 2017)
Art and the Young Imagination explores the 40-year history of one of New York City’s most creative arts education initiatives, Studio in a School. Founded in 1977, when the city’s economic crisis drastically reduced arts programming in public schools, this nationally recognized leader has nurtured and maintained a dynamic community of professional artists who teach hundreds of thousands of New York City children in underserved public schools, daycare centers, and community-based organizations.

Mastering the Metroplis: New York and Zoning 1916-2016 (Through April 23, 2017)
The character of New York’s varied neighborhoods is governed by a novel set of rules first envisioned by New York reformers 100 years ago – the groundbreaking Zoning Resolution of 1916. Zoning, which was designed to tame the unruly process of free-market real estate development, has continued to shape the city we know today in countless, often unseen, ways. This landmark law gave birth to the iconic “setback” skyscraper and the modern skyline; to special neighborhoods like the Theater District; to public amenities like pedestrian plazas, and to residential neighborhoods of all shapes and sizes. On the 100th anniversary of America’s first comprehensive zoning resolution, Mastering the Metropolis: New York and Zoning, 1916-2016 will examine the effects of the evolving law and chart the history of the city’s zoning rules and debates to the current day, illuminating how the tools of zoning have reflected a century of evolving ideas about what constitutes an “ideal” city.

Timescapes (Ongoing)
How do you fit the Big Apple onto the small screen? Timescapes, the Museum’s award-winning short documentary, explores how New York City grew from a settlement of a few hundred Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans into the metropolis we know today, and features animated maps and archival photographs, prints, and paintings from the Museum’s collections. Now expanded and updated, the film's final chapter captures the astonishing – if sometimes challenging – transformations the city has experienced in the first decades of the 21st century.

Starlight: Hanging Grid II (Ongoing)
The dazzling focal point of the City Museum’s main entry space, this brilliant light installation is suspended above the Rotunda.Conceived by Cooper Joseph Studio, it accentuates the Rotunda’s sweeping circular staircase. The 5,283 points of light boldly complement the City Museum’s 1932 neo-Georgian home, reflecting its mission to connect the city’s past and present. Using state of the art technology, the piece needs minimal energy and generates virtually no heat. It is among the museum’s most photographed feature.

NY at its Core: 400 Years of NYC History (Opens November 18, 2016)
Framed around the key themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity, New York City’s history comes alive in this first-of-its-kind exhibition, through the stories of innovation, energy, struggle, and the vision of generations of immigrants, politicians, tycoons, dreamers, master builders, and ordinary New Yorkers. New York at Its Core captures the human energy that drove New York to become a city like no other, featuring the city’s “big personalities” – among them, Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, “Boss” Tweed, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello La Guardia, Jane Jacobs, and Jay-Z. The stories of lesser-known New York personalities, like Lenape chieftain Penhawitz and Italian immigrant Susie Rocco, also figure prominently in the exhibition, as do some of the furred and shelled residents who shaped the city’s economic and daily life -- among them, the pig, the beaver, and the oyster. Through more than 400 objects, many from the Museum’s rich collection, as well as interactive digital experiences, we welcome you to dive deep into the city’s past and create your own visions for its future.

Stettheimer Dollhouse (Opens November 21, 2016)
One of the Museum’s most popular artifacts, the dollhouse of Carrie Walter Stettheimer (1869-1944) weaves together the fashion and style of New York's Gilded Age in miniature form. Stettheimer worked on the 12-room dollhouse for nearly two decades, creating many of the furnishings and decorations by hand.

Art and The Young Imgaination: Four Decades of Studio in a School (Opens January 14, 2017)
Art and the Young Imagination explores the 40-year history of one of New York City’s most creative arts education initiatives, Studio in a School. Founded in 1977, when the city’s economic crisis drastically reduced arts programming in public schools, this nationally recognized leader has nurtured and maintained a dynamic community of professional artists who teach hundreds of thousands of New York City children in underserved public schools, daycare centers, and community-based organizations. The exhibition features student works—watercolors, drawings, collages, and sculpture— produced through the Studio’s approach to enhancing childhood art education and visual literacy and revealing the city as interpreted by its youngest residents.

New York Silver, Then & Now: Then and Now (Opens Summer 2017)
New York Silver, Then and Now links the rich history of silversmithing in New York City to present-day artistic practice. It features newly commissioned works by leading metalworkers, created in response to historical objects from the Museum’s collection. The Museum’s holdings, widely recognized as one of the foremost collections of American silver in the nation, include leading examples of silver designed and produced in New York from the mid-17th through the 20th century. Comprised of more than 1,400 works by such notable craftsmen as Cornelius Kierstede, Myer Myers, and Charles LeRoux , and renowned retailer/manufacturers like Black, Starr & Frost and Tiffany & Co., the collection demonstrates how, for over four centuries, the city’s silversmiths and designers have adapted international styles to make them distinctively “New York” in look and feel. The exhibition will open a dialogue between past and present, pairing historic pieces with remarkable new work by contemporary artists. Internationally recognized artists from the New York area who have been invited to participate include designers Dror Benshetrit and Ted Meuhling; architect/interior designers William Georgis and Sheila Bridges; artists Michele Oka Doner, Kiki Smith, and Chitra Ganesh; metalsmiths Myra Mimlitsch Gray and Wendy Yothers, and many others.

Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York (Opens June 13, 2017)
The story of New York salsa—an up-tempo performance of percussive Latin music and Afro-Caribbean-infused dance— is one of cultural fusion, artistry, and skilled marketing. Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York illuminates salsa as a social movement from the 1960s to the present, exploring how immigrant and migrant communities in New York City—most notably from Cuba and Puerto Rico—nurtured and developed salsa, growing it from a local movement playing out in the city’s streets and clubs into a global phenomenon. The exhibition also looks at the role of record companies and stores in supporting and promoting the movement, and salsa’s often-overlooked ties to activism in the city. Rhythm & Power features dance costumes and musical instruments from some of salsa’s leading figures, as well as audio and video that bring the sounds and movement of salsa to life.

For more information on these exhibitions, please visit the Museum of the City of New York website.