First published in September, 2020
While the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History are must-see museums on any New York City itinerary, my favorite museum in the city is the New-York Historical Society, located directly beside the Natural History Museum on Central Park West. This multi-story museum contains many amazing historical artifacts and has several exhibits of great interest to children, including a mini-children’s museum, under its roof.
While all New York City museums have been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of these museums are reopening next week, including the New-York Historical Society. The museum has also taken one of its exhibits outside, which is accessible for free! It has created online content as well so if you can’t visit NYC, you can still access some of its exhibits at home, including one about Harry Potter!
My favorite exhibit was actually in the lobby, where statues of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr facing off at their duel are located. I visited before my Hamilton the Musical obsession but even so, I found the statues to be so interesting. They are identical to the statues that I saw as a part of Hamilton: The Exhibition in Chicago last year.
The museum also displayed several Hamilton/Burr artifacts, including the actual dueling pistols. I got to meet the real Theodosia through her portrait!
The museum has many great exhibits on the long and varied history of the “greatest city in the world.” I loved learning about the centuries of history, from the earliest inhabitants to the Revolutionary War to modern-day historical events, such as 9/11. Children will love the detailed recreation of the Oval Office in the Meet the President exhibit on the 4th floor of the museum!
The museum also has a dedicated children’s museum for the youngest of guests. This part of the museum is doing Zoom reading and crafts with kids several times a week so check out the calendar if you are interested!
Don’t miss the statues of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass on the museum steps!
I ate a quick bite at the museum’s cafe, which is currently closed. Since the museum is located on Manhattan’s Upper West side, there are plenty of nearby restaurants from which to choose!
Check out the museum’s online store for great NYC gifts, including beautiful masks made to look like lamps from the museum’s extensive Tiffany lamps collection.
To learn more about the history of New York City, read one of the thousands of books set in the city! Two of my favorites are New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. For kids, I recommend I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 and I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis.
Comment below with your favorite book about the city that never sleeps!