Get Your Culture Fix at 12 of New York’s Most Celebrated Museums

You’ll find no shortage of ways to experience New York City’s arts and culture — opportunities are everywhere you look. From world-class art and history museums to immersive, hands-on cultural institutions, New York’s most storied — and fascinating — collections are waiting to be explored. These are the most definitive of the bunch.


Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)

Set in a former Manhattan public school — a majestic Italian Renaissance Revival building  —  the Museum of Modern Art (11 W. 53rd St., New York, 212-708-9400, moma.org) is one of the world’s largest and most influential museums of its kind. Among the institution’s most iconic works: Salvador Dalì’s The Persistence of Memory; The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh; and Henri Matisse’s The Dance I.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The cultural soul of New York City and the largest art museum in the United States, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Ave., New York, 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org) resides within an iconic Gothic Revival-style building on the Upper East Side, at the eastern edge of Central Park. Containing over two million works of art, its collection includes pieces from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt; paintings and sculptures from most all of the European masters; a vast assemblage of American, modern, African, Asian, Byzantine, Islamic and Oceanian art; antique armor and weapons from far corners of the globe; and an exhaustive collection of musical instruments, costumes and accessories. Be sure to visit The Sackler Wing to marvel at its Egyptian treasures. Among the 26,000 objects of artistic, historical and cultural importance is the 2,000-year-old. Egyptian Temple of Dendur. Dating back to first century, it’s the only complete one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

 

Whitney Museum of American Art

Located in the Meatpacking District, Renzo Piano-designed The Whitney (99 Gansevoort St., New York, 212-570-3600, www.whitney.org) was founded in 1930 by socialite and patron of the arts Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. A showcase of 20th- and 21st-century American art, it’s especially known for its temporary exhibits. Among the 15,000 pieces by nearly 2,000 artists in its permanent collection, you’ll find works by Jasper Johns and Georgia O’Keeffe — not to mention Edward Hopper’s entire estate.

 

The Brooklyn Museum

Holding 1.5 million works of art in an opulent, 1897 Beaux-Arts structure at the edge of Prospect Park, The Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, 718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org) spans thousands of years of art history and stands as the third largest museum in New York City. From its priceless Ancient Egyptian gems to its African, Oceanic and Japanese artifacts, it’s deserving of its place on the world stage.

 

American Museum of Natural History

Covering four city blocks on the Upper West Side, right across from Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History (200 Central Park West, New York, 212-769-5100, amnh.org) houses a massive collection of taxidermy mammals. Beyond depictions of marine life and the lives of Native American tribes, you’ll find the dinosaur floor, presided over by the imposing skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Nestled within a circular, concrete, Frank Llyod Wright-designed building, The Guggenheim (1071 5th Ave., New York, 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org) hosts a permanent collection of more than 7,000 works of art, including an exhaustive collection of modern sculpture; pieces by Picasso, Miró and Klee; and the world’s largest collection of paintings by Kandinsky.

 

New-York Historical Society

Housing some 1.6 million works, including George Washington's bed from Valley Forge, the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West, New York, 212-873-3400) nyhistory.org) is the city’s first museum. Founded in 1804 on the Upper West Side, it’s a favorite among history buffs, with 1.6 million works that explore the history of New York and the country at large. Additionally, it houses more than three million books, spanning the nation’s founding, slavery, Reconstruction and beyond. Adding to its destination-worthy appeal, you can also view signed copies of the Constitution, Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment. Be sure to explore its exhibit on Women’s History, too, and pay a visit to the gallery alight with 100 Tiffany lamps.

 

The Jewish Museum

A museum and repository of cultural and historical Jewish artifacts, The Jewish Museum (1109 5th Ave., New York, 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org) is tucked into the 1908 Warburg Mansion on the Upper East Side. Showcasing more than 30,000 objects of import, it houses the largest collection of Jewish art and Judaica outside of Israeli museums. Peruse the paintings, sculptures and Jewish ceremonial art — all of it integral to the preservation of Jewish history and culture. Also not to be missed is Marc Chagall’s Old Man with Beard.

 

The Noguchi Museum

Intimate and contemplative, The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City (9-01 33rd Rd., Queens, 718-204-7088, noguchi.org) was conceived and built by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi himself. The goal? To preserve his artistic legacy, and to display his sculptures, drawings, architectural models, and stage and furniture designs. A visit to the sculpture garden is a must.

 

The Cloisters

America’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the art and architecture of the Middle Ages, the Met Cloisters (99 Margaret Corbin Dr., New York, 212-923-3700, metmuseum.org — an offshoot of the Metropolitan Museum of Art — overlooks the Hudson River in Fort Tryon Park. Owing its name to the building’s five medieval-inspired cloisters, the museum’s tranquil grounds and galleries showcase the 12th-century Fuentidueña Chapel, the Mérode Altarpiece by Robert Campin and the spectacular seven Unicorn Tapestries, survivors from the late Middle Ages..

 

Frick Collection

Situated in the Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, The Frick Collection (1 E. 70th St., New York, 212-288-0700, frick.org) comes courtesy of industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Within the former residence’s 19 galleries is a renowned collection of old master paintings and fine furniture.

 

Rubin Museum of Art

Set in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, the Rubin Museum of Art (150 W 17th St, New York, 212-620-5000, rubinmuseum.org) highlights the art of the Himalayas and India. The comprehensive collection spans 1,500 years and features an impressive 38,000 pieces that range from sculptures and paintings to installations. Among them you’ll find reproductions of murals from Tibet’s Lukhang Temple.

 

To say the least, the explorations don’t stop here. Check out our blog for more culturally enriching experiences in New York.

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