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Best Free Museums in New York

By: Cityseeker
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South Street Seaport Museum

This museum is located within the historic South Street Seaport, site of New York's bustling, 19th century shipping area which now includes many trendy eateries, boutique shops and some preserved architectural gems. Inside the museum, ship lovers and wannabee seafarers will delight in the photos of the historic schooners, port and paintings of the era. Additionally, the museum presents children's interactive exhibits that detail the difficulties of life at sea and there is also a working print shop and a shipbuilding studio for visitors.

New York, NY, United States
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National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center

The George Gustav Heye Center is the New York division of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The Heye Center occupies the first and second floors of the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. The museum hosts a selection of changing exhibitions that present and reaffirm the ways, languages, literature, history, and art of Native Americans. The museum also features dance and music performances, children's workshops, family and school programs, and film festivals and video screenings that present the diversity of the Native peoples of the Americas and the strength of their cultures from the earliest times to the present.

New York, NY, United States
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The Center for Book Arts

The Center for Book Arts was established in 1974 with the aim of conserving the traditional craft of book-making and promoting it as an art form. This center houses a huge collection of more than 2000 books ranging across various genres by national and international authors.The center also hosts exhibition, workshops and lectures that can benefit those interested in this art. Since the fall of 2012 they began courses to train students in the art of book-making inculcating skills such as book binding, letterpress, paper treatment and calligraphy. Drop in at the center and peruse this novel craft.

New York, NY, United States
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The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology

Take a look at the latest styles churned out by the students of the Fashion Institute of Technology and other esteemed designers at The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology. This museum is renowned for hosting novel and critically acclaimed exhibitions like London Fashion, Madame Gres: The Sphinx of Fashion and Gothic: Dark Glamor. Visitors can peruse accessories and clothing that span over 50,000 items, the oldest ones being from the 1700s. Get a glimpse of the popular styles of Dior, Chanel and Balenciaga that are displayed here. Housing three galleries, this museum is a great place for those with a keen interest in the latest fashions.

New York, NY, United States
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American Folk Art Museum

If you are a person who likes to think out of the ordinary, then this museum should be on your list. American Folk Art Museum houses interesting exhibits that showcase traditional folk art as well as contemporary pieces from self-taught artists. The interesting exhibits range from cultural artwork to unique work done in a variety of medias, in one room you'll see a 19th-century quilt and in the next room view a double-sided painting by Henry Darger. What's more, you can enjoy this all this for free!

New York, NY, United States
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Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park was founded in 1986 when artist Mark di Suvero, along with significant others, transformed this illegal dump-yard to an open studio and exhibition center as well as a neighborhood park. This is the only site that provides a large space for artists to create and display their talent and generate interaction amongst the artists and the public. As a recognition for the exceptional contribution made by this museum to the art world, it has been honored by many awards. The park holds may activities and education programs for children to encourage their raw talent and build confidence. The park also holds a weekly farmer's market, perfect for stocking up on those healthy greens.

Queens, NY, United States
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The National Jazz Museum in Harlem

Harlem in New York is popular for fostering the growth of Jazz music. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem contributes to this culture by housing a phenomenal collection of CDs, DVDs and books. It is the proud owner of the Savory Collection which includes recordings, radio broadcasts and performances by the earliest and most popular jazz artists, especially Bennie Goodman, Coleman Hawkins and Louis Armstrong. Visitors can also peruse splendid photographs of performers in action that adorn the walls of the museum.

New York, NY, United States
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Bronx Museum of the Arts

The Bronx Museum of the Arts, housed in what used to be a synagogue, exhibits a variety of contemporary and 20th-century art. There is a permanent collection displaying the works of artists from Asia, Latin America and Africa. The museum also offers some great educational programs and lectures. There is a cafe on site, and several neighborhood restaurants nearby.

Bronx, NY, United States
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Queens County Farm Museum

This 47-acre site, parts of which are over 200 years old, is a working farm that grows produce and houses livestock. It is hard to believe that a place like this exists in New York City, but there it is. The farm hosts a yearly children's festival and apple festival, and there is a picnic area on the premises. There are also regular tours of the farm and its history, and a variety of educational programs. Admission is free.

Queens, NY, United States
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The African American Museum

The African American Museum had humble beginnings in 1968, as an exhibit of artifacts from the private collection of Professor Leroy Ramsey, from the Nassau Community College. Though originally intended to be a temporary set up, the exhibit was retained due to its popularity among the locals. Numerous additions to the collections led to it acquiring a separate space, and later becoming a full-fledged museum. The museum is affiliated with the African Atlantic Genealogical Society, and is host to their numerous programs and activities.

Hempstead, NY, United States
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