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“Snapshots of New York History Need Better Curators” 2 of 5 stars
Review of New-York Historical Society Museum & Library

New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
170 Central Park West, at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York City, NY 10024 (Upper West Side)
+1 212-873-3400
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Ranked #127 of 1,633 things to do in New York City
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Owner description: A trip to New York wouldn't be complete without a visit to the New-York Historical Society with its four centuries of history and art - plus the only Children's History Museum in the area. It hits the spot for anyone craving an offbeat (and often surprising) bite of the city's culture easily digested in an hour or two. Quirky, smart, immersive and across the street from beautiful Central Park, it offers a rich taste of the city. The New-York Historical Society boasts a hip new vibe. You know the city - now hear the stories. Witness New York's rise from remote outpost to city at the center of the world in our 18-minute panoramic film experience, New York Story, in surround-sound on a 75-foot screen. Then travel through time in visionary exhibitions and an entire floor of children's galleries that show why this city has always captivated hearts and minds. "We were absolutely blown away by the film which manages to convey more about New York and its history than one could imagine ever being crammed into 18 minutes." - CL, New York NY History will break free from the textbooks and jump into your life! Refresh yourself this summer with our "Madeline in New York" show (through October 19, 2014) celebrating the 75th anniversary of the beloved French schoolgirl and her adventures. You'll see artwork from all the books as well as panels painted by the author/illustrator for the Onassis yacht and drawings capturing life in the old Ritz hotel in New York City. "Homefront & Battlefield" (through August 24, 2014) commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by showing you the stories beneath the veneer of Blue & Gray. Then explore one of the finest collections of American art in "The Works"-- some of the stars of our paintings collection. Hungry for more? Experience the casual elegance of Caffe Storico which offers tasty Italian fare and specialty cocktails, then explore the Museum Store for unique New York City gifts and exhibition-related merchandise.
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125 reviews 125 reviews
43 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Snapshots of New York History Need Better Curators”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

Located just south of the behemoth American Museum of Natural History The New York Historical Society mounts small scale exhibits highlighting targeted areas of New York. Most recently there was an exhibit of photographs of the changing face of Harlem, an exhibit of New York silver & another of beer breweries in New York. The Harlem exhibit was poorly curated. It was difficult to determine when certain pictures were taken. There was an excellent exhibit about Smallpox vaccinations in New York.
The museum's fourth floor, The Luce Center, felt like a walk through the museum's back rooms with just a few objects identified. The handout picked up at the front desk says that additional information can be found via your smartphone. Not everyone has a smartphone. Who made the decision to disseminate information via technology not all visitors have access to? The collection is extensive too bad it is not displayed well.

Visited August 2012
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289 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
44 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
“Excellent Small Museum”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012

Not a must see if you only have a day or two, but if you are interested in the history of New York and have some extra time, this is a very pleasant museum. Located in a newly renovated handsome building on Central Park West just south of the Museum of Natural History, the New York Historical Society is a great way to get insight into the history of New York City and the daily life of its inhabitants. There is an extensive library, a lecture hall and a space for special exhibits but the truly interesting displays are the collections of furniture, paintings and household goods on the 4th floor. There is also a collection of original Audubon prints and a large collection of Tiffany glass. Another plus is the excellent restaurant which is worth a visit on its own.

Visited July 2012
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New York City, New York
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192 reviews 192 reviews
125 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
“Staid but trying not to be.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

If you are interested in local history or have a research project, this is a good place to come. It's not thrilling, but the management is trying to make it more relevant to more New Yorkers than just the English old guard.

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North Augusta, SC
20 reviews 20 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“A Hidden Surprise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2012

We had a half day before our flight left NYC and I decided to walk to Central Park from my Hotel and this was on the way and I decided to take a chance and tour it. I also passed the Museum of Natural History and passed on it due to the amount of screaming children in line outside of it. I am so glad I did. This is full of not only NY history - but American History. I learned many things on my tour I probably should have already known - but that is okay:) They have interactive displays for adults on the first level similar to a giant iPad that tells you about objects on the wall. The CHILDREN'S displays are what I enjoyed the most. They are interactive about currency, newsies, and medicine.

They also have a fabulous film call "New York - The Story." It is in a theatre setting and is very well done. I would return again and encourage others to do so as well.

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island
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111 reviews 111 reviews
52 attraction reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“beautifully renovated museum”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

The New York Historical Society's museum has been newly opened (11/11/11) after a 3 year period of renovations. Having visited it long ago when it was a dusty uninviting old place, I was enthralled with the beautiful building and the vast amount of things now on exhibit. We were mostly interested in the wonderful Tiffany lamps, the design of many of them duly attributed after recent findings to Clara Driscoll, the head of the women's department at the Tiffany workshop. We also enjoyed some of Audubon's original watercolors and the film on the New York Story. It would take more visits to adequately discover the other treasures like the paintings from the Hudson River School and I'm looking forward to returning soon.

Visited July 2012
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