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New-York Historical Society Museum & Library
Ranked #120 of 1,153 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: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Stairs / elevator, Activities for young children
Reviewed March 25, 2013 via mobile

We went there not knowing what exactly what was there, and was sadly dissapointed. I saw there was a childrens section there. As a parent, I would not take my kids there due to lack of fun stuff for them. They would be very bored.

1  Thank Menotyou V
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
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"tiffany lamps"
in 56 reviews
"vietnam war"
in 19 reviews
"minute film"
in 22 reviews
"central park west"
in 26 reviews
"on display"
in 43 reviews
"the hudson river school"
in 14 reviews
"permanent collection"
in 29 reviews
"introductory film"
in 12 reviews
"audubon prints"
in 10 reviews
"tiffany exhibit"
in 10 reviews
"new york"
in 177 reviews
"toy train"
in 7 reviews
"current exhibit"
in 13 reviews
"wonderful exhibits"
in 12 reviews
"exhibits change"
in 7 reviews
"children's section"
in 8 reviews
"gift shop"
in 32 reviews
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512 - 516 of 666 reviews

Reviewed March 25, 2013

Facing Central Park, just next door to that beloved giant, the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Historical Society, in recently renovated quarters, is the oldest (founded in 1804), and one of the more fascinating museums in New York City. A current exhibition, the first of three on James John Audubon's watercolors, is full and rich, startlingly bright and enlivened by bird sounds that you can dial in to each numbered painting. The extensive planting of trees in recent years, the enhanced public spaces and new parklands have made Manhattan home again to hawks, eagles and other bird species that had long vanished from the city. Here they all are in Audubon's compelling paintings, along with fascinating letters, a small watercolor of Audubon's beautiful house where now 156th St. meets the Hudson, and a startling Meiji-era woodblock print depicting the artist, whose work, not surprisingly, struck a chord with the Japanese. Let's hope Eric Sanderson & others who envision a Manhattan island & boroughs with more wild places, more wetlands to accommodate rising sea levels, more swamps and rivers, are seeing a real, up-close, workable future. If so, the artifacts, maps, grids, plans, documents and records that are in the collection of the New York Historical Society and other institutions can help us recreate the kind of paradise that Henry Hudson reported when he sailed up the Hudson River in 1609.
The opening film at the Historical Society is a visual kick, and was surprisingly emotional for me -- having lived all over the world, from Southeast Asia to North Africa, I've known this city since I was a kid, and have spent years living and working here, leaving, coming back. The collage of New York City history, life and culture is really intense! On a sailboat in the Banda Sea (salut, Etienne!), I once passed Pulau Run, one of the islands in the Indonesian archipelago for which Manhattan Island was exchanged in the Treaty of Breda (1667). Empty, windswept with coconut trees, no people, no houses, no inhabitants, no nothing, it's an icon of ironic history and the colossal exercise of hubris!
The New-York Historical Society describes its mission: "to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history." That's a lot of scope, and a lot of reasons to visit. This was actually my first visit; I'm sure there will be more.

Thank bja119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2013

This is a wonderful museum for everyone, whether you are a New Yorker or not.. For me, I am a New Yorker and I was so excited and impressed to learn so much about our city dating back to the 1600"s ..Who Knew?/ There are so many artifacts belonging to presidents and other famous people. There is a film that depicts the history of the early settlers and also shows the history of our city as it evolved through out the centuries..Our tour guide was proficient, and so very pleasant..Go to this museum, you will not be disappointed..

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

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