New York City boasts some of the best museums in the world. From fine arts to history to science to pop culture, there are more than 80 museums across the five boroughs (including 23 in Manhattan) to pique your interest. While admissions prices vary, many venues offer free days/hours or suggested pay-as-you-wish prices in order to make their exhibitions more accessible to those on a budget. Here are 7 must-see museums in the city with great deals to match:
1.The Museum of Natural History – Upper West Side
Founded in 1869, the Museum of Natural History is an amazing place to spend an afternoon. Featuring permanent exhibitions of dinosaurs, ocean life, forests and the evolution of man, as well as limited-time special exhibitions such as The Butterfly Conservatory and Backyard Wilderness, the Museum of Natural History “is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections that serve as a field guide to the entire planet.” The museum offers a pay-as-you-wish policy, allowing visitors to spectate on their own budget.
2. The New York Historical Society, Upper West Side
As New York’s oldest museum, the New York Historical Society is another must-see for history buffs. Exhibits focus on both New York and general American history, featuring collections ranging from paintings by Rembrandt to relics from George Washington’s bed at Valley Forge to artifacts from the Civil War and World War I. Plan on visiting on a Friday night as the museum offers free admission from 6-8 pm.
3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Upper East Side
With over 5,000 years of international art on display, the Met is among the most well known museums in the world. It features a dizzying array of rare artifacts from ancient Egyptian tombs, Native American clothing, Arms and Armor, Medieval Art, Musical Instruments, Costumes, and more. The Met offers a pay-as-you-wish policy for New York residents as well as students enrolled in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut schools.
4. The Guggenheim, Upper East Side
Like the Met, the Guggenheim specializes in fine art. Focusing more on modern and contemporary pieces, the Guggenheim offers its spectators beautiful paintings, sculptures and media that challenge your thoughts and beliefs. See works from Constantin Brancusi, Robert Mapplethorpe, R.H. Quaytman, and more. The museum offers a pay-as-you-wish policy from 5-8 pm every Saturday, cash only.
5. The Museum of Modern Art, Midtown
The MoMA is an iconic museum on the Upper West Side, featuring some of the best modern and contemporary art in the world from over 26,000 artists, including Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and more. With its mission of promoting “diverse cultural, artistic, social, and political positions,” the museum is a great opportunity to see some incredible pieces of art. Plan on visiting Friday from 4-8 pm, when admission is free.
6. The Frick Collection, Upper East Side
Once the mansion of wealthy Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Frick, the Frick Collection on East 70th Street is known for its distinguished Old Master Paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts. Since it opened in 1935, the museum has grown beyond Frick’s original collection to include special exhibitions on European Art and lectures from all over the world. Free admission from 6-9 pm on the first Friday of each month.
The Fashion Institute of Technology’s Museum is ideal for those interested in both the history and future of clothing design. The museum’s permanent collection of 50,000 garments and 30,000 textiles includes clothing, accessories, textiles, sample books and photographs. The Museum at FIT is a division of the college, which is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Free admission.