New York Historical Society Museum & Library

Location: 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024

The New York Historical Society Museum in NYC, at the corner of 77th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan, was founded in 1804 as the city’s first museum. The New York Historical Society presents exhibitions, public programs, and research that explore the rich history of New York and the nation. The New York Historical Society Museum & Library has been at its present location since 1908, in a granite building designed by York & Sawyer in a classic Roman Eclectic style. A renovation of the landmark building was completed in November 2011 that made it more open to the public, provided space for an interactive children’s museum, and accomplished other changes to enhance access to its collections. And today, you can see this exceptional museum on our Uptown and Harlem Tour.

Louise Mirrer has been the president of the historical society since 2004. She was previously executive vice chancellor for academic affairs of the City University of New York. Under her leadership, beginning in 2005, the New York Historical Society Museum presented a groundbreaking two-year exhibit, Slavery in New York. This was the largest themed exhibition in 200 years on a topic that the museum had never addressed before. It included an exhibit by artists invited to use museum collections in their works.

The New York Historical Society Museum & Library generally focuses on the developing city center on Manhattan Island, leaving more broadly focused efforts to the Brooklyn Historical Society, which was founded as the Long Island Historical Society in 1863. The BHS also has materials pertaining to the city as well as the larger region it sits within.

The Manhattan museum is full of educational opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. Kids and teens can enjoy a variety of programming focused on history and art. Teachers should check the workshop calendar for professional development opportunities and other unique seminars for educators. The museum also offers The Citizenship Project, a program designed to help immigrants become citizens through a variety of American history and civics courses. Children can enjoy movies, events, and other programs. The museum even hosts birthday parties.

Museum events and exhibitions are always changing, so you can be sure that each visit to the museum is fresh and exciting. No matter when you visit, you’re sure to find an exhibit to grab your interest.

The New York Historical Society Museum & Library features traveling exhibitions, special installations, women’s history exhibits, a children’s museum, and many other educational opportunities. The Luce Center features a gallery of Tiffany lamps, the women’s history center, and a tech commons. The library is home to two million manuscripts, 500,000 photographs, and 400,000 prints. At the historical society museum, NYC visitors will find a perfect destination for those with an interest in the city’s culture and history. Note that the museum is closed on Mondays but offers accessible hours throughout the rest of the week. Explore their site for more information about current events and exhibitions, then plan on stopping here during your hop on/hop off tour with us.