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“Good NY History Museum”

New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
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The New York Sightseeing Pass
Ranked #110 of 1,115 things to do in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
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. 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! Hungry for more? The New-York Historical Society is your neighborhood destination for food and drink, whether you're grabbing a breakfast bite and a delicious cup of coffee at Parliament Coffee & Espresso Bar, or you're looking to relax with a delectable lunch and dinner and a glass of wine at Storico. Then explore the NYHistory Store for unique New York City gifts and exhibition-related merchandise.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Stairs / elevator, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Reviewed March 24, 2013 via mobile

The NYHS is small but worth a bust. The current NYC in WWII exhibit is well done and offers something for everyone. The permanent exhinits on the 4th floor do give a cluttered feeling but on the whole the museum has wonderful artifacts and does a reasonably good show of showing them. I must say that the Titanic Shower curtain in the gift shop is rather tacky and in poor taste, frankly.

Thank BigPeteNy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 23, 2013

The NY Historical Society is a wonderful museum in a beautiful and classic building on Central Park West. It has a lot of NYC artifacts and has a lot of old historical tidbits about NYC in the early days as well as some pieces from 9/11.....a pleasant experience and a great location!

Thank NYCJinx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

I enjoyed my visit to the New York Historical Society. Many diverse exhibits on New York's involvement in WW II, 9/11, and artifacts from the 1800's and early 1900's. It was a very informative visit which included some short films on New York and its residents.

Thank Nicholas C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2013

The only reason this museum gets one star is because I can’t give it zero.

We’d based our trip to NYC in large part on a visit to the Historical Society and their collection of Tiffany Lamps. We really wanted to like this museum, but we just couldn’t. It was by far the most disappointing part of our trip to NYC, and perhaps the weakest museum I have been to.
The NYHS Museum is lacking in curatorial content, layout, guest services, and basic logistics.

Starting with curatorial content, the museum has lots and lots of stuff, and very little context. Most of it is on display in the 4th floor Luce Center, arranged behind large glass walls as if it were knick knacks on your granny’s shelf. The stuff is crowded in, only loosely organized, and absent any real information about what you are looking at, or why it is historically significant to NY.

So what about the collection of 132 Tiffany/Clara Driscoll lamps that drew us there in the first place? There was only about 25% is on view. With the exception of a single lamp which is displayed in the fashion of a world class museum, what is displayed is in the ‘granny’s shelf’ mode. Tucked away in the back corner, haphazardly arranged in ‘visible storage’, and in various states of disrepair, there are beauties available to see, but not much overall substance. Very, very disappointing.

The other ‘highlights’ of the Museum –The Audubon Prints? Only 6 on view, stuck down a hallway. Washington’s Camp Bed? Tucked under a dimly lit shelf, with barely an identification card, and not curatorial comments. Did he use it in a camp in NY? Why is it significant to NY History?

The only real hit here is the Hudson River School Art work. This is well laid out, and displayed nicely. That may have to do that it was all recently part of a traveling show (I saw it at the PEM in Salem MA) and other museums would expect a higher level of curatorial work in order to display the art.

In terms of lay out, most of the museums footprint is given over to administrative offices and the like. All the third floor is off limits, as is half the second and fourth floors. The first floor is primarily taken by an auditorium, the current show, the entry way, gift shop and restaurant.
Little in the way of display space. Such a nice building, so much potential, and mostly wasted.

Guest services? Try this – only TWO bathrooms on the main floor. Each unisex, and single use. Upon arriving at the museum I had to use the facilities, and had to wait in line for nearly 30 minutes for a bathroom. That is simply not acceptable in a modern facility.

Basic Logistics? Three words – Coat Check Nightmare. When we arrived at the museum, we checked two coats and a single back pack. I got two claim tags for that. When we left, I waited in a short line (about 6 people) for over 10 minutes to get to the front of the line. Once there, I gave them my two claim tags. The young man disappeared, and returned about 5 minutes later with a single coat. And it was not mine. I told him the coat was not mine, that I had two coats, and backpack. He asked again for my claim tags – which I told him I’d already given to him. He looked dumbfounded, and then returned to the backroom. I waited an additional 5 or so minutes, and he returned – again with a single coat, which was one of mine. I thanked him, and told him I still needed my second coat and back pack. He asked me if I remembered the claim tag number (are you kidding?), and then to describe the second coat and backpack. He then conferred with the two other young men working coat check, and the three of them disappeared into the back room. I was quite frustrated, and the line behind me was a mix of shockingly amused and frustrated too. At this point I waited an additional 10 minutes or so, and one of the young men returned (not the one originally waiting on me) with about 5 coats in his hand that loosely fit the description of the one I was waiting on. He held them up and asked if one was mine (it was, and I took it, but I could have been tempted by the nice North Face he also brought out). Still no back pack, but yet another inquiry of a description of the pack. I gave a very specific, unique identifying feature about the bag. Five minutes or so later, I got the bag. Never an apology or any recognition of the 35 minutes I’d spent waiting for the Keystone Koat Room to find my stuff. Truly dreadful. Couple that with the 30 minutes I waited for a restroom at the beginning of my day that was over an hour wasted on the basics.

2  Thank KitchenJazz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2013

We visited for the first time and all six of us were thrilled with the visit.. In the morning we had a tour of the highlights kid the society. Our tour guide, Jordan Wouk, is a docent who obviously loves the society. His tour brought the New York history to life, because of the combination of his knowledge and enthusiasm. He was such a wonderful guide we asked him to join us for lunch at Cafe Storico at the museum. After Lu ch we had a guided tour of the WWII exhibit which was equally wonderful

Thank HoganHHI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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