{USA} Museum of the City of New York

May 12, 2010


We’re currently on holiday in the USA. Having flown in to Washington D.C., we’re now spending a week in New York, where a rainy day led us to visit the Museum of the City of New York, which hadn’t been on our initial itinerary for the Big Apple.

Going by the name, we were expecting a museum all about the history of New York, but the majority of the museum seemed to be a collection of temporary exhibitions, and thus a bizarre mix of what was currently showing – in this case cartoons and sketches by Charles Addams, the history of New York during John Lindsay’s time as major, and an exhibition about New York’s ‘century-long relationship with the car’.

There was however, also a small special exhibition showing a selection of old photographs from the museum’s digitisation project, which needless to say was easily my favourite. One part of the museum that was permanent, was a 25 minutes long multimedia presentation tracing New York’s history from its time as an early settlement to the modern day, which is kind of what we were expecting the rest of the museum to be about. The presentation was really well done, and that alone made the visit worthwhile.


  • Don’t take any large bags with you. I had an average-sized day backpack with me and was informed I had to leave it in a locker. The lockers, however, were too small (I think the irony of the fact that, had my bag been small enough for the locker I would have been allowed to take it in with me, escaped the museum attendant). In the end I was allowed to carry the backpack with me in an oversized carrier bag supplied by the museum. 
  • The museum operates a ‘recommended admission’ scheme, i.e. you pay what you can afford or feel it’s worth, at least it did when we visited. However, the sign for this was very small and half hidden (if we hadn’t read about it on their website we probably wouldn’t have known), so you need to ask about it. 
  • ICOM members qualify for free entry, but again you need to ask about it.
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