New York Historical Society

New York Historical Society

American history buffs will appreciate learning about New York’s role in major events throughout the ages at this New York cultural treasure. The New-York Historical Society houses the oldest museum in New York City as well as a renowned research library. Founded in 1804, it is a must-see destination for those who would like to learn more about the Big Apple’s fascinating past.

World's Largest Collection of Tiffany Lamps

The New-York Historical Society features historical artifacts and works of art that date back more than two centuries. 40,000 pieces from the museum’s collection are on permanent display at the Henry Luce II Center for the Study of American Culture which is situated on the fourth floor of the building. Decorative arts, sculpture, painting and furniture tell the story of centuries of New York and American history.

There is a compelling collection of works on display from an 18th century baby walker to the sculpture of Abraham Lincoln that helped shape his Mount Rushmore monument. Some of the other noteworthy holdings include over 100 Tiffany lamps (considered to be the most extensive collection in the world) and historically significant pieces such as George Washington's inaugural chair and Valley Forge camp bed.

Notable Artwork

There is an impressive collection of works by renowned American artists at the New-York Historical Society. Visitors can take in Thomas Cole’s five-part series TheCourse of Empire as well as the largest collection of pieces by John James Audubon including his celebrated Birds of America. The museum also boasts an important collection of American portraits featuring political figures and military heroes from the War of 1812 and the American Revolution.

Maps, Manuscripts and More

The library at the New-York Historical Society features a collection of materials that cover a broad range of topics from local New York history to the Anglo-American slave trade. The collection includes two million manuscripts as well as thousands of prints, photographs, maps and even dining menus.

Highlights of the works include the authorization for the Louisiana Purchase by Napoleon in 1803 and an extensive collection of manuscripts documenting American slavery including diaries, account books, and bills of sale.

Exhibitions and Special Events

The New-York Historical Society features an on-going calendar of special exhibitions. Popular presentations that have been put on by the museum include the Abraham Lincoln exhibition, the Grateful Dead exhibition and an exhibit about the history of slavery in New York and its impact on the city before the Civil War. Slavery and New York was such a popular exhibit that it was incorporated into the Luce Center’s permanent installations.

The Historical Society also hosts lectures given by expert speakers including notable historians and writers. Topics range from current events to exhibits currently on at the museum. Other public programs offered include historical walking tours and classical musical events.

Visiting New York Historical Society

The New-York Historical Society is located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side at 170 Central Park West between 76th & 77th Streets.

The museum’s gift store offers a collection of items inspired by the Historical Society’s collections and exhibitions including a broad range of prints and reproductions.

For more information on hours of operation for the museum and the library, call 212-873-3400 or visit New York Historical Society official website.