The New-York Historical Society was established in 1804 as New York’s first museum. Its eleven founders all lived through the turbulent years of the American Revolution and the British occupation of New York and believed that New York’s citizens needed to take decisive action to preserve eyewitness evidence of their own historical moment.
As the oldest museum in New York City, the Museum is home to some of the city’s and nation’s beloved artworks, including those by Thomas Cole, Rembrandt Peale, and Gilbert Stuart, as well as all 435 of John James Audubon’s extant preparatory watercolors for Birds of America. Newly designed in 2017, the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture on the reimagined fourth floor offers visitors an interactive exploration of new and historic objects from the collection, such as George Washington’s camp bed from Valley Forge, the 1863 draft wheel used in the lottery that set off the Civil War Draft Riots, and American folk art from the legendary collection of sculptor Elie Nadelman, as well as objects from the legendary tennis player and equal rights activist Billie Jean King and 100 glistening Tiffany Lamps—one of the world’s largest collections of Tiffany glasswork—on view in our Center for Women’s History.
DiMenna Children’s History Museum at the New-York Historical Society presents 350 years of New York and American history through character-based pavilions, interactive exhibits, and digital games—as well as the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library. DiMenna Children’s History Museum encourages families to explore history together through permanent installations and a wide range of family learning programs for toddlers, children, and preteens.
New-York Historical is also home to the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, one of the oldest, most distinguished libraries in the nation—and one of only 20 in the United States qualified to be a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association—which contains more than three million books, pamphlets, maps, newspapers, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.
Dining options at New-York Historical include Storico, offering brunch, lunch, or dinner, and Parliament Espresso & Coffee Bar.