We all know one person who seems to know everything about history. Along the way they have probably helped you pass your history exams in school and may have even helped you win a trivia game or two. From obscure dates to random facts, they seem to have everything memorized. If you are ever around NYC, or are lucky enough to be a Bedly resident, you should check out these museums.
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Many of us have ancestors who emigrated from other areas of the world and came to the U.S. through Ellis Island. This museum brings the immigrant story to life. This museum has a 45-minute audio tour. This self-guided experience allows you and your friends to experience the museum in as much depth. Want to skip on to another exhibit? You won’t have to wait for the tour guide to move on, you will be in control of the speed of the tour. The World Migration Globe gives a visual representation of migration patterns from all over the world. Are you interested in earlier immigration patterns? The pre-Ellis galleries provide you with stories of earlier travelers. This museum is bound to teach something to everyone, even a self-proclaimed history know-it-all.
Lower East Side Tenement Museum
After visiting Ellis Island, this should be your next stop. This museum lets you take a closer look into the lives of immigrants between the 19th and 21st centuries. Thousands of immigrants began their new lives in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. These recreated apartment buildings and businesses transport you back in time. These buildings originally housed over 15,000 immigrants from 20 nations. Guided tours throughout the building are provided. If you want to go beyond just looking at the building, you should look into the walking tours of the neighborhood. These tours teach you about what the neighborhood was like for the immigrants and also how the neighborhood is changed today. Just think…you may be walking the same streets and hallways as your ancestors!
American Museum of Natural History
This world-renowned museum is a must see for anyone who lives in NYC or anyone visiting for a short vacation. While extremely informational, this museum will also keep you entertained. From dinosaur bones to planets, this museum has something for all ages. This museum brings you on a whirlwind tour from past to present. Check out their website to see updates on special exhibits, daily deals, and other upcoming events. Open daily from 10am- 5:45pm, this iconic museum is perfect for a trip on a weekday or weekend.
New York Historical Society
As NYC’s oldest museum, the New York Historical Society should be on any history lover’s list of must-sees. Established in 1804, this museum is even older than the Metropolitan Museum of Art (another must see) by almost 70 years! This museum displays historical artifacts, pieces of American art, and exhibitions spanning centuries. With such an array of artifacts and exhibitions, everyone is bound to find something they love and walk away with a new appreciation of our nation’s history. Check out their website to see the museums floor plan and visitor information. That way, you can plan what exhibits interest you the most and you can make the most of your time there. If you’re on a budget, make sure to check Groupon and other sources to get the lowest price for your visit. Be sure to stop by the Parliament Espresso and Coffee Bar to grab a coffee and a pastry, or two, while enjoying the exhibits.
Museum of Chinese in America
Do you want to learn more about Chinese Americans and their history? If yes, this museum is exactly the place for you. Their main exhibit, With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America, discusses how the relationship between America and China impacts Chinese Americans in our world today. This exhibit spans Chinese American culture and history from 1784 to present day. You will be able to see FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures, which tells the story of the 286 undocumented Chinese passengers that were aboard the ship the Golden Venture. Visitors can see 40 sculptures, all made by immigrants while they were detained in a New York County Prison. This exhibit ends March 25th so make sure to check it out before it’s gone!
If you ever need a break from the fast paced streets of NYC, you should visit some of the most famous museums in the nation. With a wide range of artwork and exhibits, these museums have something for people of all interests. Rain or shine these museums are a guaranteed good time.
Photo credits in order of appearance: Wiki Media, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, American Museum of Natural History, New York Historical Society, Museum of Chinese in America