Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of the City of New York is one of the most elegant and interesting museums in the city. Founded in the early 1920s as a not-for-profit organization, the museum aims to collect and preserve original materials that relate to the City of New York.

Visitors to this museum are able to view a vast collection of artifacts in themed exhibitions that are shown for a certain time period or those that are ongoing. There is always something new to see at this museum and it is a firm favorite among locals and visitors alike.


The museum was founded in 1923 and took occupation of its present building in 1930. The building was designed by the architect Joseph J. Freedlander. In 1982, the City of New York awarded the museum with the prestigious “The Hundred Year Association of New York” gold medal award in honor of its contribution in preserving and promoting the city.

The Building

The museum – which faces Central Park and is located on the north end of the famous New York Museum Mile - can be found on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Its large red-brick façade and white stone columns make this splendid museum look like a Colonial American mansion. The museum has five floors of exhibits, and visitors should leave at least 3 to 4 hours to spend enough time wandering around this interesting building.

What's to Do and See?

The Museum of New York City has a huge collection of items spanning the history of New York City from 1623. Books, manuscripts, military items, furniture, period clothing and toys are just some of the interesting articles available at the museum. In addition, the museum is famous for its collection of photographs that cover New York from a number of angles and time periods. Visitors can view remarkable photographs from the Depression era for example.

Changing Exhibitions
The Museum of New York City offers visitors the chance to view ever-changing exhibitions on subjects relating to the past, present and future of this exciting city. Current exhibitions include the “The Jewish Daily Forward: Embracing an Immigrant Community” which reveals the fascinating history of this newspaper which once boasted readership greater than the New York Times itself. Another current exhibition is entitled “New York Rises: Photographs by Eugene de Salignac” which celebrates the remarkable photography of this man who served for three decades with the New York City Department of Bridges/Plants and Structures.

Ongoing Exhibitions

  • “Timecapes” : A multimedia showing that traces the history of New York City from its days as a tiny settlement for a handful of Europeans, Native Americans and African slaves, until its present day status as the greatest metropolitan on earth. The show runs for 25 minutes right through the day.
  • “Perform” : This exhibition explores the history of theater in the New York. It presents a variety of costumes, props and photographs to see how the theatrical life changed in the city over time and how the city was influenced by the arts.
  • “ New York Interiors”: This exhibition examines the domestic environments of New York City inhabitants from the early days of the first Dutch settlers until modern times. Recreations of living rooms from different time periods are just some of the interesting facets of this collection.
  • “ New York Toy Stories”: For a bit of nostalgia, nothing beats this collection of toys from yester-year, including dolls, cars and games. A focal point of this exhibition is the famous Stettheimer dollhouse. A separate dollhouse gallery is also a great place to visit, although the gallery is currently being renovated and visitors should check to see when it will be open to the public again.
  • The Rockefeller Rooms: The fifth floor of the Museum of the City of New York exhibits the recreation of houses belonging to several men known as the Baron Robbers, including Rockefeller.

Public Programs
The Museum of the City of New York offers visitors the opportunity to take part in a number of regular programs. Some of these are free with a museum admission ticket, while others are subject to a fee. More information about upcoming programs can be obtained through the museum’s offices. Visitors can choose from programs dealing with a wide range of topics, such as discussions on the role of women during the Spanish Civil War, ethnic diversity in the city, famous sportspeople and theater in the city. The museum also offers programs geared especially towards families which offer participants the chance to partake in hands-on workshops, active discussions and culture-enrichment events.

The Store
The museum’s store is open from Tuesday to Sunday (and holiday Mondays) from 10 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. The store offers a wide variety of items relating to the history of New York City, as well a large choice of books, maps and posters.

Visiting the Museum

  • The museum is open from Tuesdays through to Sundays from 10 am until 5 pm.
  • The museum is closed on Mondays but will open on holiday Mondays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day.
  • The museum is easily reached by public transport, including by bus and subway.
  • The museum is wheelchair accessible and there is also a wheelchair lift to reach the auditorium. Special arrangements can also be made for hard-of-hearing visitors, such as the provision of headsets. Exhibition videos are open captioned.
  • Seniors and students get special rates, as well as families visiting together.

Visiting Museum of the City of New York

There is probably no other museum in the world that incorporates the fascinating history of the City of New York better than the MCNY. Every angle of the city’s history is presented, whether from a cultural, ethnic or social perspective.

The main mission of the Museum of the City of New York is to present the history of New York and its people as a significant learning resource. To do this, the museum presents regular lectures, exhibitions and publications and is always on the lookout for original items in order to preserve and display them for the benefit of generations to come.

Location: at 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York City, New York
Phone: 212-769-5606

Click here to visit Museum of the City of New York official website