New York City is jammed with attractions even for those who aren’t at all interested in visiting museums, but for “museum people” the city is an embarrassment of riches. Chicago has reasons to be proud itself, but New York City has more world-class museums than all but a handful of cities on the planet. There are over 100 institutions that are museums in one form or another, but even if they closed down all but the top 10 this would still be a major museum city.
Here is some quick information about the most famous and important museums in the city:
Metropolitan Museum of Art — Known locally as The Met, this museum in Central Park houses over 2 million works of art from around the world and throughout history. There are rotating temporary exhibitions, but the permanent collection itself is already an ambitious day in itself.
>>more information on the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Guggenheim Museum — This modern art museum was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and stands just a short walk north of the Met. Some say the spiral design of the building is more interesting than the works inside, but either way it’s one of the most popular museums in the city.
>>more information on the Guggenheim Museum
Museum of Modern Art — Speaking of modern art, the MoMA, as it’s known locally, has over 150,000 pieces, including some of the most famous modern masterpieces in the world. Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans join works from Picasso, Dali, Gaughuin, Pollock, and many more at this Midtown museum.
American Museum of Natural History — This is one of the world’s top museums of its kind. The massive dinosaur displays are the most famous, but there are also anthropological collections dedicated to the origins of man and many other things. The Hayden Planetarium is next door and is very popular itself.
Ellis Island Immigration Museum — Located on Ellis Island in New York Harbor, this is only accessible by Circle Line Ferry along with the Statue of Liberty. The museum covers the fascinating story of European immigration into the United States from the late 19th Century through the middle of the 20th Century.
Whitney Museum of American Art — This Upper East Side fixture houses over 12,000 works from American artists. In addition to the impressive permanent displays the Whitney has temporary exhibitions that often include modern art and pop culture.
American Museum of the Moving Image — This museum is located in Queens, just across the river from Midtown Manhattan, in the Kaufman Astoria Studios. It’s dedicated to film, television, and digital media and their impact on culture and society.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum — This Upper East Side museum, which dates back to 1897, is located just north of the Guggenheim, and is the only museum in the country dedicated exclusively to design.
Frick Collection — This used to be the mansion of industrialist Henry Frick, and now this Upper East Side structure is a popular museum that shows off the opulence of his art and furniture collections.
International Center of Photography — This Midtown museum is dedicated to interpreting the power and evolution of photography, and many famous and iconic images are part of their permanent display.