Tue-Thu and Sat, 10am-6pm; Fri, 10am-8pm; Sun, 11am-5:45pm; Mon, closed
1 at 79th St.; B, C at 81st St.-Museum of Natural History
$10, $7 seniors and teachers, $6 students, free for children under 12
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Whether you want to know more about domesticated pets in the city, 19th century board games, first ladies, flophouses on Bowery, or campaign broadsides, you'll find it here, in a permanent or traveling exhibit as well as in the research library. The New-York Historical Society was founded in 1804 and continues its dual function as a museum and a research institute focused on NYC-centric issues and history. The institution has an extensive collection of Hudson River School paintings, from Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church, plus paintings by Gilbert Stuart and more than 400 of John J. Audubon's Birds of America watercolors. Also housed here, in the open-storage-design Henry Luce II Center, is a quirky grouping of 40,000 objects, including wooden circus toys, dueling pistols, lead pencils, political buttons, scrimshaw horns, George Washington's inauguration chair, and Tiffany lamps. The research library's grand, quiet room is a place where historians dig deep into American or regional history, from Colonial to Revolutionary to antebellum life and the Spanish-American war, political ephemera, mercantile history, activism, and genealogy. The millions of books, maps, broadsides, newspapers, architectural drawings, photos, and sheet music in the library's hefty collection help depict and elucidate those eras from every angle, whether you're curious about music, buildings, street life, or what was being served in restaurants a century ago.Tours
Audio tours for the Luce Center are free with admission; you can either select an object and listen to the audio summary about it or select the audio tour of 12 must-see objects, guided by famous New Yorkers.