Top Museums to Visit in New York City

New York City is home to a mind-boggling number of museums. From history and art to science and military, it has something for everyone. With so many options, narrowing down your choices can become difficult. We have arranged a list of some of the top museums located in New York City-based on the exhibitions and the art they hold. So, let’s begin.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in Newyork City, is the largest museum of the country and the fourth largest in the world. It is home to over 2 million works and exhibits that are over 5000 years old. The museum, through its remarkable collection of exhibits, possesses the ability to showcase history through art. Talking about some of the most popular and famous exhibits, the museum features Vincent Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Cypresses Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s Ugolino and His Sons and Rodin’s Thinker bronze cast.

The museum is not only home to such artwork but also consists of costumes, weapons, armory, and musical instruments. The main building of the museum is located on 1000 fifth avenue in the Upper east side of Manhattan. In terms of the area, this is one of the largest galleries in the world. While you are exploring the museum, there are certain locations such as the Temple of Dendur, Medieval Sculpture Hall, Period rooms, and European sculpture Hall along with many others which you cannot miss. With nearly 700,000 visitors, visiting the museum only in 2018, it is bound to be a site worth visiting.

National 9/11 Memorial & Museum

National 9/11 Memorial & Museum

The tragic incidents of September 11, 2001, and the bombing of the world trade center in 1993 gave birth to the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Its location is the same as that of the world trade center. This is an institution based on non-profit, which raises funds for the program and the operation of the museum itself. Even though it is a heavy emotional experience, but it allows you to have an insight of both prior and post events. Approximately one million visitors visit this museum annually as it displays and holds over 11,000 artifacts, which include artwork, books, ephemera, and textiles, etc. The museum features twin reflecting pools that cover an area of one acre and also has waterfalls that are the largest man-made in America.

On May 5, 2014, the museum of September 11 was dedicated, and on May 21, it was opened for the public. There is an overwhelming collection of 40,000 images, 3,500 oral recordings, 14,000 artifacts, and 500+hours of video. The people who lost their lives during the incident have their names engraved on panels made from bronze. The Callery Pear tree is something you do not want to miss as it was damaged badly during the September 11 attacks and was then nursed before it was returned in 2010.

Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art has played a major role in the collection of modern art. This museum has gained the recognition of being one of the most influential museums in the world. As the name itself implies, the museum is home to both modern and contemporary art, which includes painting, design, prints, photography, sculpture, architecture, and design, etc. There are over 300,000 books and catalogs of exhibitions, more than 40,000 ephemera files about groups and artists, and more than 1,000 periodic titles. The museum has constantly experienced an ever-growing number of visitors every year, especially after its glass and graphite renovation. On average, about 1.5 million to 2.5 million people visit the museum to witness some of the best modern artworks. It is a private non-profit organization.

The Museum of Modern Art does not fail to impress in terms of having the best collection of modern artworks as considered by some. It features individual pieces that are more than 150,000 in number combined with 4 million film stills and 22,000 films. Some of the famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, Jasper Johns, Paul Cezanne, and many more have their artwork proudly displayed on the walls.

New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

The New York Transit Museum is a site that is home to the history of New York’s transit system, which includes buses and subways etc. On 4th July 1976, the Exhibit of New York Transit Museum was opened. Old subway automobiles that were preserved were showcased at the exhibitions. Initially, the plan was that the museum would remain open till 7th September of the year, but it became so popular that it eventually turned into a permanent museum. The museum includes everything related to the transit system, such as buses, railway, and memorabilia of the tunnel. In addition to that, some other exhibits include vintage signage, dioramas, and models of the bus, subway, and other equipment as well.

The upper level of the museum ‘mezzanine’ consists of a wide variety of exhibits such as restrooms, exhibits, a gift shop, water fountains, and even a dining space for visitors who bring their food along. Artifacts related to bus operations and history subway, along with the infrastructure of NYC transportation is on display.

The lower platform of the museum consists of fully operational and powered dual subway tracks, which point towards the history of New York City’s subway along with the railway equipment that has been upgraded and elevated with time. You will even get to see railcars that arrived before the New York Transit authority came into existence and are perfectly preserved.

American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of National History is one of the largest museums in the world. It features 26 buildings that are interconnected along with 45 exhibition halls that are permanent in addition to a library and a planetarium. There are over 34 million species of animals, plants, rocks, minerals, human remains in addition to specialized frozen tissue collections and astrophysical and genomic data. The museum welcomes around 5 million visitors each year and holds more than 120 special exhibitions as well. It was founded in 1869 and housed the largest dinosaur fossil collection in the world, making it a must-visit landmark for both adults and children.

The 45 permanent exhibition halls allow the visitors to come close and experience the exhibitions and collection while providing the opportunity to discover, engage and learn about the past, present, as well as the future of human culture, the natural world, and the universe. The museum has been engaged in well-known worldwide expeditions such as the Whitney South Seas Expedition, Jesup North Pacific Expedition, the Crocker Land Expedition, and many more. Furthermore, it had also launched the Richard Gilder Graduate School that offers a Ph.D. in comparative Biology. This makes it the first museum in the United States to offer a degree with its credentials.

Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

Built-in 1929-30, the Museum of the City of New York, made from red brick with marble trim, has played a huge role in preserving the history of New York and its people. At the moment, the museum is home to more than 1.5 million items, including drawings, paintings, prints, dating back to the 19th and early 20th century. In addition to that, you will find photographs of New York and its residents along with costumes, furniture, decorative objects, and antique toys as well. The museum was the first of its kind in terms of developing a curatorial department for toys, which includes military and marine collections, ship models, manuscripts and books, fire, and police collections. Broadway Theater’s golden age is proudly displayed through the theater collection as well. The photographic images displayed here are the works of famous photographers such as Berenice Abbott, Jacob Riis, and Percy Byron.

American Folk Art Museum

American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk-Art Museum was brought into existence to honor and appreciate folk art along with self-taught artists belonging to the United States and beyond. The museum has a wide collection of 18th-century objects, more than 8,000 in number and mostly consists of gifts. These works include the traditional artwork of Folk along with the works of self-taught artists and Art Brut. You will get to see over 1,200 paintings on panel or canvas, more than a thousand sculptural objects, 1,500 works and drawings on paper in addition to two hundred ceramic objects, one thousand items related to textiles and much more. The museum through its ongoing exhibitions aims to provide educational outreach and programming to individuals who never had any formal artistic training while highlighting their creative expressions. Sheldon Peck, Asa Ames, Ammi Phillips and many more have their early portraits displayed at the museum. Furthermore, the archives of the museum hold a large collection of photographs, films, recordings, historic records, and valuable ephemera as well.

Final words

By discussing some of New York’s top museums, their unique exhibitions and collections we hope to have helped you in narrowing down your research. Each museum offers a unique experience and takes you on a quick trip to a bygone era and makes your experience worthwhile. However, if you ask us, our favorite would be the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which brings you as close to history as possible, thanks to its massive 2 million exhibits.