The Big Apple, New York City, is well known throughout the world for its skyscrapers, its shops, the unique atmosphere of its neighborhoods, from Manhattan to the Bronx, from Brooklyn to Queens, for the shows on Broadway, and for the thousands of movies shot in its streets.
Yeah yeah yeah….but New York is also home to some of the most amazing museums, from the MoMa to the Guggenheim Museum. Of course, if you have enough time, it’s worth visiting all the New York museums, but if you are in New York City just for few days, we would like, with this article, to help you to decide where to go and what to see.
American Museum of Natural History
Let’s start with one of the most famous museums in NYC, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). It’s located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan on one side of Central Park and is one of the largest museums in the world. The AMNH comprises 25 buildings for a total of 46 permanent exhibition halls. The collections contain over 32 million examples of taxidermy, fossils, gems, and natural specimens of every description.
The Planetarium of the museum and the the Fossil Halls (with its Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil) is a must see!
MET – Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City is located on the eastern edge of Central Park along the Manhattan’s Museum Mile. The MET is one of the largest world’s art galleries. In the museum’s permanent collection you can see works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from almost all of the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (one of the most famous architects of the 20th century), the Guggenheim Museum in New York is one of the most important architectural landmarks in the city.
The Guggenheim is the permanent home for a large collection of paintings from impressionism, post-impressionism, modern and contemporary art.
Museum of Modern Art – MoMa
The Museum of Modern Art (known as MoMa) is the most influential and important museum of modern art in the world! The MoMa’s collection includes not only paintings but also works of architecture, design, photography, prints, books, films and any kind of electronic media. Van Gogh, Chagall, Picasso, Dali’, Monet, Warhol, De Chirico, Pollock, Frida Kahlo…these are the names of some artists represented by their works in this incredible museum.
MoMA also owns some 14,000 films and four million film stills, as well as 140,000 books, artists’ journals, and periodicals, all of which are part of the Museum’s library.
Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York is a museum dedicated to the history of New York City. Founded in 1923, it is an art gallery were you will find paintings, drawings, prints and photographs featuring New York City and its residents as well as a collection of unique and rare objects related to the history of the city.
One of these rare objects is the chair that once belonged to Sarah Rapelje, the first child born in New Amsterdam (the former name of New York) of European parentage.
Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art (known as ‘the Whitney’) houses a collection of more than 18000 works, in a wide variety of media, with a focus on 20th and 21st century American art. Every two years, the museum hosts the Whitney Biennial, an international art show which displays many lesser-known artists new to the American art scene.
Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is the the only museum in the U.S. whose collection is solely focused on contemporary and historic design. The Cooper-Hewitt hosts more than 250000 design objects divided into 5 different departments: Product Design and Decorative Arts, Drawings and Prints, Graphic Design, Textiles and Wall-coverings.
The Cloisters Museum
The Cloisters Museum is a museum dedicated to the art and architecture of Medieval Europe. Located in Fort Tryon Park, near the northern tip of Manhattan, the museum is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and incorporated into its structure are several parts from five French cloistered abbeys.
Buildings of the abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Trie-en-Bigorre, and Froville were dissassembled, shipped to New York and reassembled between 1934 and 1938; this is how this museum was created!
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Museums in New York City are not only about arts, but also about history, including recent history. Ellis Island was the gateway for millions of immigrants to New York City and the United States.
The island is now a museum, and in October 1965 was proclaimed part of the Statue of Liberty National Museum. Here is the most likely place to experience a feeling akin to that of arrival in the “new world” for the millions of immigrants coming from all over the world to find a new life.
Children’s Museum of the Arts
If you are in New York with your children you can’t miss the Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA). This museum is the oldest children’s art museum in the world. The mission of the CMA is to extend the benefits of the arts to all children and their communities and to secure the future of the arts by inspiring and championing the next generation of artists and art lovers.
I hope you will enjoy New York City and its museums. If you want to see where the museums we talked about are located please have a look at the map below.
View New York Museum Guide in a larger map