Wed and Fri-Sun, noon-6pm; Thu, noon-8pm; Mon-Tue, closed
E, M at Lexington Ave.-53rd St.; N, Q, R at 49th St.; 1 at 50th St.; B, D, F, M at 47th-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center
Adults, $10; students and senior citizens, $8; children under 14, $5
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
This cultural landmark for pop-culture nostalgists is specifically geared to those who live for the pleasure of hitting “rewind.” To that end, the museum has assembled an archive of approximately 150,000 radio broadcasts and small-screen programs, with rarities like Seinfeld’s pilot and Audrey Hepburn’s American television debut. Though the institution is unquestionably about entertainment for the masses, CBS tycoon William S. Paley founded the facility in 1975 as a resource for serious academic research. (Today’s viewers and scholars may find themselves in a console next to celebrities like John Turturro or James Gandolfini studying for upcoming roles.) In addition to being a storehouse of TV and radio footage, the museum also hosts fascinating lectures and interviews, sometimes with guests far outside Hollywood (Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright). Events take place in one of four theaters that double as screening rooms. Don’t be fooled by the lack of Smithsonian-style displays or the simple, unadorned design. (Walls are mostly bare, with the exception of some donated drawings by Al Hirschfeld.) This is one museum where the programming is the artwork.Tours
Guided tours are offered if visitors ask at the front desk.