Saturday, February 12, 2011

New York Museums and Places of Interest

This article serves as a brief guide to a few of the numerous must see cultural goldmines in New York City.

American Museum of Natural History

See the 3.2 million year old lady. One of the greatest historical finds of our time and arguably the oldest known proof of human evolution, the skeleton of 'Lucy' is on display at the museum as well as a planetarium, complex dioramas, a rare selection of priceless articles in the library and an extensive display on the study of human evolution.
Established in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan's Upper West Side is one of the most respected and interesting museums in the world.

Whitney Museum of American Art

The most important artworks of the 20th century are on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Affectionately known as 'The Whitney', it has over 12 000 works from artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Knox Martin and Jackson Pollock.
The museum was established by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an artist and founder of the Whitney Studio Club. The Whitney Studio Club later evolved into the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art

For those who enjoy something with a little more KaBlam!, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art is the place to spot those priceless rarities, unheard of spin offs and long forgotten classics.
This New York City museum opened its doors on Broadway in 2001 and regularly hosts classes, book openings, workshops and lectures featuring special invited guests.

The New York Public Library

One of the most important research libraries in America and one of the world's leading public libraries, The  New York Public Library is one of the most significant catalogues of documentation in the world.
The building itself has been a work in progress since 1897, but it only opened its doors to the public at an official opening ceremony in 1911, which was hosted by the United States President at the time; William Howard Taft.
The exterior of the library features two lion statues, dubbed "Patience" and "Fortitude" , which have reached iconic status, and are now synonymous with library entrances.
The library also hosts a website which offers access to the library's catalogues and databases. The website gives members free access to thousands of historical and contemporary newspapers, magazines, journals and reference books.

The Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim is the best known museum in New York. Not only is it the definitive collector of Modern art, but it also caters specifically for early modernists. The full title of the museum is The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and it forms part of New York's Museum Mile. The Guggenheim franchise also has museums in Berlin, Bilboa, Venice and Las Vegas.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Commonly known as 'the Met' on the bohemian streets of the Big Apple, this New York Museum Mile institution is the world's largest collection of art of the 20th century. The museum, is situated on the eastern edge of Central Park, and has 19 different departments in its permanent collection featuring specific themes such as arms and armor, musical instruments, Egyptian art and American Paintings and Sculpture.

The Paley Center for Media

Formerly The Museum of Broadcasting, and also the Museum of Television & Radio, the curators of at Midtown Manhattan's Paley Centre for Media are the caretakers of more than 120 000 TV and radio broadcasts which have been donated to the museum by the original owners - perfect for the weary coach potato traveler.
Much of the museums emphasis is on media as a time capsule, and the inclusion of TV and radio as important human history. Amongst the archives are TV programs dating from 1948, and radio programs from the 1920s. All of these broadcasts are available to the public.

The Brooklyn Children's Museum

Another groundbreaking New York institution is The Brooklyn Children's Museum, which was the first children's museum in the world when it was founded in 1899.
Permanent exhibit themes of the museum include toddlers, New York City landmarks, children's library, live animals and greenhouse, an area for visiting exhibits, musical instruments from around the world and a stage for kid's shows. The interactivity of the displays will have the little ones entertained, and learning all afternoon.

The Skyscraper Museum

A relatively new addition to the ever growing list of New York museums and places of interest is The Skyscraper Museum, which is devoted to high rise architecture.
The museum portrays the buildings as "objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence." The museum was temporarily closed down for use during the post-September 11 period for use as an emergency information centre.
One of the main features is an 'air walk' above the streets of New York. Not for the faint hearted, but definitely a once in a life time experience.

Irish Hunger Memorial

Commissioned by architects and designers, The Irish Hunger Memorial pays respect to the estimated eight thousand Irish who died of starvation between 1845 and 1852, due to potato crop failure commonly known as "potato blight'.
The site stretches a quarter acre corner in Battery Park City neighborhood of Manhattan and its stones, soil and vegetation are all collected from each of the Irish counties.

Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum

Located in an area rich in naval and maritime history at New York's Pier 86 in Manhattan, the museum features the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier, the USS Growler submarine (both World War II relics) and a Concorde aircraft.
The museum periodically welcomes invited ships for special events, which is held on the deck of the colossal air craft carrier.


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