Interior of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
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New York’s 13 Best Museums

New York has about 100 museums, and many of them number among the preeminent institutions in their category. If you’re a history, culture, or science buff on your way to WorldPride, it’s so much to see and so little time! Here are the 13 museums we think you should put on your short list. Whether you can fit them all in on your trip—well, we’ll leave that up to you.

 

Interior of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Interior of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photo: Chad Heird © SRGF, NY.
 

  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

    The Solomon R. Guggenheim is an icon on sight alone. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed white spiral, completed in 1959, dazzles all the more once you step inside. Walk up the white spiral rotunda inside to view the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art, with pieces by Picasso, Kandinsky, and Manet, among others. On view during Pride month, you can also see the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and diverse work from artist-turned-curators in Artistic License. 1071 5th Ave., 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org

     

  2. Morgan Library & Museum

    Walk from Grand Central Terminal to the Morgan Library & Museum, the Gilded-Age residence of financier J.P. Morgan (1837-1913). After Morgan’s death, his preserved home and library became an institution built from Morgan’s rich collection of rare books, fine art, and historical artifacts. Now the Morgan contains a wealth of treasures in addition to its stunning library, plus rotating exhibitions on view year-round. During Pride, come to the Morgan for exhibitions on Walt Whitman: Bard of Democracy, a photography exhibit, and the drawings of Maurice Sendak for his production work in opera and ballet. 225 Madison Ave., 212-685-0008, themorgan.org

     

  3. The Frick Collection

    Housed in one of New York’s last great Gilded Age homes, The Frick Collection provides visitors with an unparalleled opportunity for intimate encounters with one of the world’s foremost collections of fine and decorative arts. The house and collection originated with Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), who bequeathed his home and collection of European paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts for the enjoyment of the public. Among the artists Frick collected were Bellini, Holbein, Houdon, Fragonard, Manet, Renoir, Rembrandt, Titian, Turner, Velázquez, Vermeer, and Whistler. The institution’s holdings, which encompass masterworks from the Renaissance through the early modern period, have grown over the decades, doubling in size since the opening of the museum in 1935. Among these complementary acquisitions are many longstanding public favorites, including works by Constable, Duccio, Gainsborough, Houdon, Ingres, Memling, Monet, Rembrandt, and Piero. Adjacent to the Collection is the Frick Art Reference Library, founded nearly one hundred years ago by Henry Clay Frick’s daughter Helen Clay Frick and recognized as one of the top resources of its kind in the world., 1 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021, 212-288-0700, frick.org

     

  4. MoMa birds eye view
    Photo by Josh Wilburne on Unsplash
     

  5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Opened in 1880, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or “The Met”) is a temple of world art. There are thousands of years of art and artifacts inside this enormous building, from the Egyptian Temple of Dendur to ancient Greek and Roman sculpture to a boat from the Pacific Islands. Choose carefully before you go, as the Met can easily take up a whole day of exploring! Luckily, there are a few restaurants and cafes inside—plus one on the roof—to help keep you going. Look forward to exhibitions like The World Between Empires: Art and Identity in The Ancient Middle East and Camp: Notes on Fashion on view during Pride Month. 1000 Fifth Ave., 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

     

  6. The Museum of Modern Art

    From post-Impressionist painting to contemporary installations, The Museum of Modern Art always inspires and astounds. This Midtown art institution contains Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, among other iconic works of art. MoMA is reorganizing its gallery spaces starting in mid-June, so be sure to visit before June 15 to see the collections before they’re closed to the public. And remember MoMA PS1 will still be open nearby in Long Island City, Queens, continuing to showcase the museum’s fantastic collection of cutting-edge artworks. 11 W 53rd St., 212-708-9400, moma.org

     

  7. The Rubin Museum
    The Rubin Museum of Art — Photo credit: Asya Gorovits
  8. Rubin Museum of Art

    The Rubin Museum of Art is an arts oasis and cultural hub in New York City’s vibrant Chelsea neighborhood that inspires visitors to make powerful connections between contemporary life and the ideas, cultures, and art of the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions. With an emphasis on cross-cultural connections, the Rubin’s special exhibitions celebrate art forms that range from ancient to contemporary, including photography and multimedia, while its permanent collection galleries are focused primarily on art from the Himalayan region.
    150 W 17th St., 212-620-5000 rubinmuseum.org

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  10. New-York Historical Society

    Explore the endlessly fascinating history of New York City at New-York Historical Society. This Upper West Side institution welcomes families to learn about the city’s storied past from many viewpoints; they even have a special Stonewall 50 exhibition in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Other June exhibitions will include a look at the ecology of the Hudson River, sculptor Augusta Savage, and the women photographers of LIFE magazine. If you have kids in tow, be sure to take them to the on-site Children’s Museum! 170 Central Park West, 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org

     

  11. museum of arts and design
    Credit: Museum of Arts and Design
     

  12. Museum of Arts & Design

    It’s all about the artisan at the Museum of Arts & Design at Columbus Circle. The makers on display at this museum create furniture, jewelry, pottery, textiles, and other crafts that are “usable” but no less beautiful for their utility. Some of the diverse artists at this small institution also have open studios, and the gift shop on the first floor is worth a trip in its own right. 2 Columbus Circle, 212-299-7777, madmuseum.org

     

  13. The Brooklyn Museum

    After the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum is the largest art institution in the city. Conveniently located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, this museum showcases a wide swath of art works from contemporary artists, antique decorative arts, and one of the most impressive ancient Egyptian collections in the world. There are gallery sections devoted to key global arts centers such as South and Central America, as well as the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art on the fourth floor. A lovely place to spend the afternoon, this large Beaux-Arts structure contains a gift shop, restaurant, and cafe. During World Pride, the museum will be showing Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall. 200 Eastern Parkway, 718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org

     

  14. Museum of the Moving Image

    The Museum of the Moving Image explores the “movie magic” behind film and television. Using artifacts such as early cameras and a recreation of a vintage movie theater, this museum explores the history of this 130-year-old medium from many angles. There are interactive experiences like the “dubbing” booth and a station where you score a film scene yourself, plus artifacts from films like Star Wars. Ongoing at the museum is a Jim Henson exhibit involving his beloved creations, The Muppets. The museum screens a diverse selection of films every week as well. 36-01 35th Ave., 718-777-6888, movingimage.us

     

  15. 9/11 Memorial & Museum

    From the scars of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks have come the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, occupying the space of the former World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan. The Museum commemorates the dead, including employees inside the Twin Towers and first responders, with artifacts recovered from the site and video and photographic footage. This moving experience explores the long-lasting effects of the tragedy and the rebuilding of New York City in the years since 2001. Steps away from the museum is the memorial: two square fountains pouring into negative space below, the ledges inscribed with the names of the lost. 180 Greenwich St., 212-312-8800, 911memorial.org

     

  16. American Museum of Natural History

    The blue whale replica and Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil are just two iconic features of the American Museum of Natural History. This scientific institution, founded in 1869, explores the wonders of nature, from life at the bottom of the sea to fossils buried in the earth. Perfect for kids and adults, this enormous museum always dazzles whether at the Hayden Planetarium or the anthropological displays in the Human Origins hall. During WorldPride, you can also check out special exhibitions like Unseen Oceans and T. rex: The Ultimate Predator. Central Park West at W 79th St., 212-769-5100, amnh.org

     

  17. National Museum of the American Indian

    A Smithsonian institution in the Financial District, the National Museum of the American Indian contains the art and artifacts of Native Americans. Learn about tribes from North, Central, and South America through ceremonial and religious artifacts, textiles, clothing, and pottery. The museum also contains contemporary art and cultural artifacts from Native Americans. Best of all, there’s free admission for all. Exhibitions on view during Pride Month include Jeffrey Veregge: Of Gods and Heroes and Infinity of Nations. 1 Bowling Green, 212-514-3700, nmai.si.edu

     

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