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Best Museums in New York

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This impressive Fifth Avenue mansion was once the home of coke and steel magnate Henry Clay Frick. It was the Frick family's wish that his art collection remain on display there after his death. Built in 1914, the mansion was made to look much older. The gilded, ornamental décor is the perfect setting for exhibits which include masterpieces by Vermeer, Goya and Rembrandt. Stroll in the tranquility of the beautiful outdoor garden. Please note children under the age of 10 are not permitted in the collection.

Tucked away in Queens is an old-fashioned testament to film and television. The actual studios of the one-time Paramount East Coast production house are closed, but the museum provides tours about film making where you can see makeup, costumes and well-known movie sets. There are several theaters for film screenings and a gift shop for souvenir hunters.

The Cloisters is the medieval outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Overlooking the Hudson River, it is a deeply relaxing and spiritual place. The interlocking cloisters are faithful reconstructions of five French monasteries. They were erected between 1934 and 1938 on a site offered by John D. Rockefeller Jr. The museum here is devoted to medieval architecture and European art. The gardens are as beautiful as the chapels and cloisters.

Ellis Island is the second island in New York Bay, Liberty Island is the most famous one, where you can see the majestic Statue of Liberty. Between 1892 and 1954, over 12-million immigrants disembarked upon Ellis, thus pioneering the immigration movement that is of significant importance to the country's history. The Main Building has architecture reminiscent of the Beaux Arts style, and though the establishment fell into decay in the mid-20th Century, most of the buildings were restored to their original splendor. Spanning over three floors, it is home to a well-preserved collection of photographs, videos, artifacts and interactive exhibits that reflect American heritage. Explore the Wall of Honor that is engraved with a partial list of names of processed immigrants.

This powerhouse in the modern art world doubles as one of the best-known museums on the globe. Its galleries burst with intriguing exhibits showcasing mediums ranging from painting and drawing to print and illustration. Photography fans will also find a lot to love at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Classic artworks closely associated with the museum include Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe and Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Should your appetite for food begin to compete with your appetite for art, there is a charming restaurant on site, as well as a gift shop to browse on your way out.

With a permanent collection numbering over two million individual works of art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or simply the Met, is not only a New York City landmark, it is the United States' largest art museum and the fifth-most visited museum of any kind in the world. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the museum encompasses more than 1.5 million square feet (139,355 square meters) of exhibition space. European paintings on display include those by world-renown masters like Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Titian, and Vermeer. The vast collection has been split between several galleries, arranged by geographic origin and other thematic schemes. The Egyptian art gallery is especially enticing, as are the Met's repositories of Asian, African and Medieval art. Others include Islamic, Roman, and Greek art, the Arms and Armory section, the Costume Institute, and European Decorative arts. When weather permits, contemporary sculptures are displayed at the open-air roof garden. Apart from being a treasure trove for art lovers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a fun-filled and educational experience for all ages.

A prominent landmark of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe to the United States, the Eldridge Street Synagogue houses the Museum at Eldridge Street. It is the founders of this museum who took the initiative of a massive renovation and restoration project on the synagogue, and are solely responsible for the majestic glory in which it stands today. The museum tells the tale of how the synagogue came to be founded, storing vast collections of artifacts and documents that are valuable to the Jewish history in the country. There are walking tours and other programs organized by the museum which take visitors through the various aspects of the synagogue's existence. See the website or call for more information.

The Tenement Museum was founded in 1988 by historians Ruth Abram and Anita Jacobson to commemorate the country's immigration culture. This unassuming apartment building on the iconic Orchard Street is home to inspiring stories. These stories speak of the persistence of generations of immigrants who came to New York City starting in the 1800s to build their lives from scratch with limited resources. Take a guided tour to get a glimpse of the life new immigrants experienced in Chinatown, Little Italy and Manhattan's Lower East Side through photographic exhibitions, displays of personal belongings and memorabilia.

Walk the deck of the 900-foot (274-meter) aircraft carrier Intrepid, best known for its role in World War II, and witness thought-provoking exhibits on aviation as well as deep sea and space exploration. Tour a submarine and take a virtual flight, in addition to viewing vintage and modern airplanes parked wing to wing. The interactive programs and events are designed for all ages and guarantee an educational yet fun experience. The stunning interiors and the panoramic views on the outside make The Intrepid a must-visit.

The American Museum of Natural History is a popular attraction and one of the largest natural history museums in the world. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, displays and exhibits, all geared to reveal secrets of the beautiful natural world. The visit begins with skeletons and live-size replicas of elephants, dinosaurs and other extinct creatures, which welcome you as you enter the main hall. Other points of interest include the Hall of Human Biology and Evolution, the Hall of Meteorites, a vast collection of gemstones, an IMAX theater and the Rose Center for Earth and Space planetarium shows (at extra cost), as well as a research library. The museum offers a number of specially customized public and group tours as well as educational programs and trips, enabling visitors to explore the exhibits in detail. Please note, there are separate entry fees for certain exhibitions and programs, the IMAX theater and shows at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Please check the website for more details.

The Whitney Museum of American Art places an emphasis on modern American art. It has grown in popularity in recent years, and thanks to an expansion in 1998, there is now a permanent collection on display. Select pieces are housed in the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Galleries on the fifth floor, including art by Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keefe and Alexander Calder. The building, designed by Marcel Breueritself, resembles an upside down pyramid and is an extraordinary sight.

From its colonization by the Dutch up to the present day, the evolution of New York City is explained at this Manhattan museum. Established in 1923, the Museum of the City of New York houses hundreds of thousands of photographs, prints and paintings, as well as numerous special exhibitions on the city. Down in the basement, there are antique paintings, safety equipment and maps. Special tours can also be arranged for students and other groups. Check out the museum store to pick up cool merchandise like clothes, books, gifts and more.

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