I could probably live in New York City my entire life and still not see everything to see. The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan, make up the five boroughs of New York City with an unlimited amount of places to see and explore. There is so much to learn about in New York, and the best way to do that is to visit the variety of museums. As a part of the New York Program, we live in Lower Manhattan, so these are just four of the museums I visited close to home. But if you feel like getting out of the neighborhood, I included one of my favorite museums while I’ve been here—Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Times Square. Get a feel for each museum with a little information about each and then take A Walk Through Manhattan’s Museums. Either sit back and watch the slideshow or click through the pictures to read captions containing interesting facts about the photos.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian features exhibits all year round to display and teach about the lifestyles, cultures and religions of Native people. The current exhibit is Infinity of Nations, which shows the path and history of Native people. You can learn about almost every aspect of their lives, from tools they used to the types of clothing they wore. Outside the exhibit is a collection of boards that establish the 500-year connection between Native Americans and African Americans by addressing their shared questions of identity and heritage and their struggle to gain legal and social acceptance.
I have been to a few Holocaust museums, but this one was an interesting new angle. Its main focus is the life of Jewish people before, during and after the Holocaust with a floor dedicated to each phase. While I learned some new facts about the Holocaust, I learned a lot more about the lifestyles of the Jews who were a part of it. More than 900 Jews from Germany boarded the St. Louis heading to Cuba. They had applied for U.S. visas and were going to head there after they reached Cuba; however, the ship was forced to go back to Europe, taking the passengers. They took refuge in other European countries, but they still ran into trouble when Germany invaded those countries. With little knowledge of Jewish life before visiting the museum, it definitely presented a new angle to the Holocaust.
The name of the museum says it all. This museum, which is ironically only one floor, is all about the start up and evolution of New York’s skyscrapers. It details everything starting with the first skyscrapers in the textile business as New York grew to become the fashion capital of the world. It continues the timeline all the way up to today with pictures and plans for the new World Trade Center buildings and the memorial. And here’s a bonus! It’s right across the street from the Jewish Holocaust Museum, so you can just hit both in one day like I did! Learn interesting facts about how they’re built and check out pictures of famous skyscrapers around the world.
When thinking of interesting museums to visit, the Museum of American Finance might not be on the top of your list, but it should be. This museum is not just facts and figures of our country’s debt. It actually tells the entire financial history of how our country was built, and how it has grown and changed since that time. You can start by meeting Alexander Hamilton, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie and then move along to see how the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business came into the scene. It’s more of a history lesson than a budget lesson, so its definitely worth the time.
Ok, here’s your break from the educational type of museums. There is nothing to learn here—just relax, walk around and enjoy the unnervingly realistic wax figurines. Take pictures with your favorite celebrities like I did, enjoy the miniature haunted house (or should I say haunted room?) and embarrass yourself by mistaking one of the figurines for a real person (not like that happened to me or anything…). It’s a little pricey, but it’s definitely worth the money and the time spent inside.