Manhattan (New York City) is well known for its many world-class museums. During our trip, we enjoyed touring several of these museums. Many of them offer free entry or “pay-what-you-wish” options, so make sure you check their websites before visiting. Below is a list of our favourites museums in Manhattan, arranged in alphabetical order.
1. American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is a huge museum located near Central Park in Manhattan. It has 45 exhibition halls with over 33 million specimens of fossils, meteorites, plants, animals, historical artifacts and more. Every year, about five million people visit the museum. My favourite exhibitions were those of the dinosaur fossils! As I stood below the massive Tyrannosaurus skeleton with its gaping jaws and 15cm-long teeth, I could totally imagine it to be a terrifying predator during its day.
2. Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) is the largest art museum in USA. It is located near Central Park too. The museum boasts over 5,000 years of art in its collections. Of particular interest to me was the Rodin exhibition, because Auguste Rodin is considered to be the father of modern sculpture. The exhibition features iconic Rodin sculptures such as The Thinker and even masterpieces such as The Tempest, which has not been displayed for decades.
3. Frick Collection
Also located near Central Park Manhattan, the Frick Collection is an art museum housing the collections of deceased industrialist Henry Clay Frick. The museum boasts world-class paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and more.
4. Morgan Library and Museum
The Morgan Library and Museum houses the art and artifact collections of powerful banker John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913). You may know him by his eponymous bank, JP Morgan Chase. The museum consists of 3 main locations: Morgan’s private study, the librarian’s office, and the library itself. Walking around the opulent study, I could definitely get a sense of Morgan’s wealth and his taste for fine art. I also enjoyed browsing the valuable art collections in the library and librarian’s office.
5. Museum of American Finance
The Museum of American Finance is a good place to learn the history of America’s financial system. It is one of the many attractions in Wall Street Manhattan. Inside the museum is a permanent exhibition of Alexander Hamilton, USA’s first Secretary of the Treasury. He is regarded as the founder of the American financial system.
6. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers a rich collection of modern and contemporary art. I was really looking forward to seeing Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night on display in the museum. Unfortunately, the queue was way too long when we visited (probably due to the free entry policy on Friday).
7. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is located near Central Park, up the road from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It houses exhibitions on modern and radical art. I was pretty intrigued by the unique design of the building. It was designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who wanted to incorporate organic form into architecture (Wright originally didn’t want to build the museum in Manhattan as he felt that it was overcrowded and lacked architectural merit).
8. The Met Cloisters
The Met Cloisters is another Metropolitan Museum of Art branch, located uptown in Upper Manhattan. It houses an impressive collection of art, architecture, and artifacts from Medieval Europe. But as it was quite far from the rest of the museums, we did not manage to fit it into our itinerary.
9. Whitney Museum of American Art
Last but not least, Whitney Museum of American Art contains an extensive collection of American art from the 20th century onward. We walked along The High Line to reach the museum.