Martina's Museum Picks

Glimpse at Some Favorite Manhattan Museums


Lower East Side Tenement Museum  


Tucked in the heart of lower Manhattan lies this modest museum which allows you to relive a slice of the nation’s (and New York’s) history, as you walk through small rooms actually inhabited last century by recently arrived immigrants swarming to the nation’s big cities, hoping for a better life and their own piece of the American Dream.  Apart from its unique mission and style, some of this museum’s special features include interactive tours (led by trained actors) and website that includes a virtual tour, primary source archives, slideshows & quizzes, genealogical resources, and more.  Particularly great for educators, students, and history lovers of all stripes...

 Museum of Chinese in the Americas (MoCA)

While you’re downtown, it’s worth the walk to stop by this little gem hidden in the heart of Chinatown, dedicated to “reclaiming, preserving, and interpreting the history and culture of Chinese and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere” (see official website).


The museum’s main exhibit is called “Where Is Home?,” and creatively (and interactively) explores themes like migrations, abandonments & reclamations, faiths & customs, women, and home.


Other highlights of this museums include the digitized Mapping Our Heritage Project” and Many True Stories: Life in Chinatown On and After September 11th,“ a guided walking tour of Chinatown every Saturday afternoon, a newly introduced Chinatown Film Project, discussions with authors and guest speakers, etc.

Perks: Admissions is cheap! $3 for adults, $1 for seniors & students; free for children under 12. Even cited by the New York Times Travel Section featured this museum as a small gem where you're unlikely to fight large crowds or wait in line...

Possible Downside: The museum space is tiny, although that does mean you get as much help and attention as you wish! If you're curious about other Chinatowns in the outerboroughs, these sites might help you prepare for a trip to Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn.



Museum of the City of New York


Besides its rotating exhibits, tons of public programs, lectures and symposia, huge photograph and document collections, the Museum of the City of New York, located further uptown than my other recommendations, has an ongoing: multimedia exploration of New York, look at the history of New York theater, feature on New York interiors (from New Amsterdam to the plush furnishings of the Gilded-Age Robber Barons), collection of New York City childrens’ toys, commerce's role in shaping the Big Apple, fires and firefighting in New York City history, etc.

The New York Times recently reviewed the photography exhibit “New York Rises: Photographs by Eugene de Salignac,” which continues through Sept. 4, 2007.

Perks: While adult admissions is $9, seniors and students can get in for $5 each, families (with a maximum of 2 adults) can get in for $20, children under 12 can get in free, as can neighbors (residents of East Harlem).