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Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

Brisbane, Australia
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Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

I don't normally have to ask these types of questions but I'm stumped.

If you had 7 days in New York would you fit in the museum? I have been reading some TA reviews and not all are so good. Is it all just old stuffed animals and dinosaur bones? I don't want to pay to walk in and basically turn around and leave.

Edited: 8:16 pm, September 14, 2013
1. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

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Melbourne
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2. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

Have a look on the museum website and see if there's enough there to interest you, or even Google for photos of what's there.

My bf and I spent 3+ hours in this museum earlier this year, we both thought it was amazing. The dinosaur and mammal sections are much more than just stuffed animals and old bones!

If there are enough things of interest to you I'd definately try to fit in a few hours. However you'll never see everything in NYC in a week, so there's nothing wrong with leaving it for another visit if there are other things you'd rather see/do on this trip.

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

I must clear up that I generally visit museums when away and I am not a shopper at all but I am concerned that the museum is dated...

Any recommendations for a museum on the history of New York/USA?

Astoria, New York
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4. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

The Museum of the City of New York http://www.mcny.org/

The Tenement Museum http://www.tenement.org/

New York Historical Society Museum http://www.nyhistory.org/

Historical houses: www.historichousetrust.org/item_list.php

NYC/Israel
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5. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

The Museum is totally not dated. However, look at its' website as well as the websites of the museums mentioned above. If you decide to go to the Tenement Museum you MUST make reservations in advance to guarantee that you get to see the "show" that you want. ( read the website and you'll get what I am saying)

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

We very much enjoyed the first 3 on Kaye's list. I also recommend the Merchant House which is nearby to the Tenement Museum...and the Tenement Museum is close to Katz's if you are contemplating visiting there.

In addition to booking a tour at the Tenement Museum, the ~30 minute film in the auditorium is very interesting and made us go for a walk around the nearby streets to see some of the shops mentioned in it that are still open (eg Di Palo). You don't need to watch the film from the start, it's on a continuous loop and you can start anywhere (well we did and it worked fine). I really enjoyed the half hour we spent in the bookstore at the Tenement Museum as well. In all, including tour, the visit was ~2 hours.

We spent about the same amount of time at the two other places - maybe a bit more at the Museum of the History of New York. It's up on the Upper East side (~103rd and 5th Avenue), so you could combine that with some time in Central Park, then take a bus up Madison Avenue to ~103rd.

Have a great week.

Brisbane, Australia
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7. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

The Tenement Museum looks interesting ... thanks for the heads up.

Queens, New York
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8. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

There is so much to see in New York and a week is not enough time but having been there I would recommend that you see the Natural History Museum. You can easily spend the day there. Enjoy your visit to New York.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

It's not all old stuffed animals and bones in AMNH. The space show "Journey to the Stars" in the Hayden Planetarium (part of the AMNH) sounds very interesting.

amnh.org/exhibitions/space-shows/space-show-…

New York City, New...
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10. Re: Natural History Museum ... do we or don't we?

I am a volunteer guide at AMNH, so I am biased.

AMNH is not for everyone, but it has 45 halls and there's something there to interest most people. Just like the Met has a lot more than paintings and sculpture, AMNH has a lot more than fossils and dioramas. As others have suggested, I'd advise going to the AMNH website and reading up on the exhibits, see if they interest you and if you want to visit:

amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions

The fourth floor is devoted to the the world's largest collection of dinosaur fossils and fossil mammals, as well as other invertebrate fossils. The halls were redone in the 1990s, are light and airy, not dated looking.

Halls even more recently redone include Ocean Life, Biodiversity, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space.

The most 'dated' parts of the museum are the mammal halls. The dioramas are works of art that reflect a specific time and story. They are actually early attempts at species and habitat preservation, and they spurred some of the first global conservation efforts. And they are an art form; several components come together to makes these dioramas 'virtual reality' cases that are still impressive today, especially when viewed in context of the time when they were created.

The dioramas in the North American Mammal hall were renovated last year, but these halls will not be changed in any major way. If you wish to learn more, you could read up on them before your visit, or you could choose to skip them if you find them uninteresting or disturbing.

In my highlights tour I talk quite a bit about the dioramas - and the dinos :) - but not every tour does.

It's a personal decision - NYC has many fine museums and you only have so much time.

Edited: 9:54 am, September 15, 2013