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Historical Museums in New York

New York is one of the nation's first states and thus is rich in history. For a fascinating look at the past visit historical museums in New York. This definitive guide to NY historical museums will give you natural, anthropological and cultural history both of the US and the world. 

Adirondack Museum

A Beautiful Setting for this Historical Museum!

Learn about historic life in the Adirondack mountains when you visit this educational museum located in  Adirondack Park. See exhibits dedicated to logging, outdoor recreation in the 1800s, early transportation and railroads in the Adirondacks and much more related to this beautiful mountainous region.


In addition to many interesting permanent exhibitions, special exhibits which change often highlight different Adirondack artists, traditions, architecture and other aspects unique to the Adirondack mountain region. This New York history museum is open 7 days a week May through October.

American Museum of Natural History

Learn the History of Nature

This fascinating museum in New York is one of the most famous in the world. With millions of specimens of animals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, cultural artifacts and more, this museum is a treasure trove of knowledge. Children and adults will be delighted by the lifelike dioramas of animals from around the world, the fossil halls with massive dinosaur skeletons towering over visitors and the meteor halls where items from outer space which have entered our atmosphere can be seen.


Don't forget to visit the Hayden Planetarium where you can learn about the solar system, or the butterfly conservatory where, during the warmer months, you can walk among thousands of these beautiful creatures. In addition to their extensive permanent exhibitions, the American Museum of Natural History also as featured short-term exhibitions - so you'll definitely want to visit again and again. Tickets for the main museum are a suggested donation of $19 per adult, but visitors may pay however little or much they wish. Open daily from 10am to 5:45pm. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas day.

Brooklyn Historical Society

The Authority on Brooklyn History

This historical society and historic museum in NY has the most wide ranging collection of Brooklyn related materials in existence. With a variety of both permanent and special exhibitions this museum offers a fascinating look at the history of this borough of New York. From baseball memorabilia to photo exhibits about Brooklyn's historic landmarks, visitors can find an eclectic collection of artifacts and displays.


Located within a New York landmark building, this historical society will enthrall those with an interest in the history of Brooklyn or New York City. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday throughout the year. Adult admission is $6 per visitor.

Destroyer Escort Historical Museum

A Bit of History Preserved

Walk the decks of the last destroyer escort remaining afloat in the United States. This ship, the USS Slater, which served during WWII, has been restored and turned into a memorial and history museum. Visitors can climb stairways and ladders between this huge ship's decks and learn about what it was like to be a sailor in the mid 1900s. 


See gear and artifacts belonging to the original crew as you follow a tour guide through the ship's interior. Stop by the ship's store before you leave to get USS Slater gear and commemorate your visit. This unique NY historical museum is open 10am to 4pm Wednesday through Sunday from April to November.

Greater Ridgewood Historical Society

Historic Museum in a Historic House!

Located in a historic house from the early 1700s this historical museum has exhibitions on a range of subjects from the American Civil War to the Dutch East India Company. Special exhibitions change regularly so visitors can come back often and learn about something new.  Learn about the architecture and history of the house itself as you tour the rooms which have been decorated in period style.


Regular educational and cultural events take place at the museum and historical society. This history museum in New York is open Saturdays from 1 to 5pm.

Harbor Defense Museum

Free Guided Tours!

Located within a 19th century military fort, this history museum is the city of New York's only army museum. Dedicated to preserving the history of NY's coastal defense system, the extensive displays and collections of items from the fort's history are a fascinating look into the past. 


Also home to a large collection of military artifacts dating back as far as the Revolutionary War, the museum regularly rotates their collections in new exhibitions. When you visit you can tour the historic fort, learn how to fire a 19th century cannon and learn all about the history of NY's coastal defenses. Open Monday through Saturday, this museum is free to visit.

Long Island Museum

One of New York's Finest Open Air History Museums!

This fascinating museum is a collection of three types of museum - an American history museum, an American art museum and one of the finest carriage museums in the country. A Smithsonian affiliate, this museum has a wonderful collection of knowledge visitors of all ages will enjoy.


The open air historical displays are set in a 9 acre park and include a blacksmith's shop, a historic schoolhouse, barns and more where visitors can see what life was like in the 18th and 19th century on Long Island. When you stop into the carriage house you will see horse drawn carriages from the 1700s and 1800s along with other historical artifacts related to the history of transportation on Long Island. The art collection consists of thousands of paintings, sculptures and prints by various artists and is a must-see on any museum visit. Admission is $9 per adult. Open Friday through Sunday

Museum of Bronx History

A Great Bronx Borough History Museum

Housed within a mid 1700s homestead, this history museum is a wonderful place to visit to learn about about Bronx history. Originally built by blacksmith Isaac Valentine, the house is the Bronx's oldest remaining farmhouse. Occupied by both British and American troops during the Revolutionary War, the house is rich in history.


Visitors can walk through the rooms built by Valentine and see the original stones and floorboards he fashioned. With captivating exhibitions that rotate bi-anually, the three gallery rooms of the Museum of Bronx history are a great place for history enthusiasts. While there, check out the famous Bronx River Soldier statue in the garden of the house.

Museum of the City of New York

Learn About the City and the People Who Have Lived There!

If you're looking for great history museums in New York, be sure to check out the Museum of the City of New York. This museum will give you a unique look at the city, how it has changed over the years and the types of people who live there. See exhibits that highlight different aspects of the city's culture including photography exhibits and collections of documents and artifacts.


Many of the exhibits change regularly ensuring there is always something new to see. This New York historical museum is open 7 days a week.

New York Historical Society

Oldest Museum in New York!

New York's first museum, founded in 1804, has an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, art and more relating to the history of New York and early American history. Fascinating special exhibitions highlighting figures in history or specific time periods are on display here. There are many things to do and see including a multimedia film experience and a scavenger hunt for visitors called History Under Your Feet.


Visit the museum store to find items inspired by NY history, limited edition prints, gift items and much more. This NY history museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Adult admission is $15.

Noble Maritime Museum

Learn Maritime History in NY!

This maritime history museum in New York is situated on the grounds of a former retirement home for sea men. With a focus on collecting, preserving and displaying the artw0rk of maritime artist John A. Noble, this history museum and art collection also exhibits rooms decorated in 1900s period style, maritime artifacts and artworks relating to Staten Island's maritime history.


If you enjoy learning about the history of sailing and shipping, this is definitely a museum you won't want to miss. Among the museum's permanent collections are a model ship gallery displaying ships from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and a recreation of several rooms of the retirement home as they would have looked when in use in the 1900s. Open Thursday through Sunday - admission is by donation.

Queens Historical Society Museum

Learn the History of Queens

Located in a historic home in Flushing NY, this historical museum and archive is devoted to preserving the history of Queens. When you visit you can explore the colonial farmhouse decorated in Victorian period style and see how people of the time lived. The historical society's collections include Queens' 300 years of history in manuscripts, maps, photographs, paintings and other mediums. 


Events relating to Queens and its history take place regularly at this museum including lectures, historic walking tours, and concerts. Open year round Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students.

Staten Island Museum

Affordable and Fascinating!

If you are looking for a great place to visit on a weekend or rainy afternoon, be sure to put the Staten Island museum on your list. There's something here for the whole family, from the nearly half a million historical artifacts and documents to the largest collection of cicadas on the continent.


This museum doesn't only have local and world history exhibits, but also has many art and science exhibits. It is an eclectic collection of interesting displays, artifacts and documents - a treasure trove of knowledge. The museum is open year round 7 days a week except on holidays. Adult admission is $3.

Suffolk County Historical Society Museum

Learn about Local History on Long Island

Home to over 20,000 artifacts related to the history of Suffolk County, this museum is an impressive collection of exhibits. Visitors can see fascinating permanent exhibits such as So Ends This Long Journey - an exhibit relating to the whaling culture on Long Island in the 19th century; and Arms and Armament - an exhibit that explores the military involvement of the people of Suffolk County throughout history and displays a variety of weapons from the 18th and 19th centuries.


Events relating to American history take place regularly at the museum - consult their website to find out what's happening now! The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday

Tenement Museum

See History First Hand!

Take a step back in time when you visit the Tenement Museum. See restored tenement housing - each one redecorated in period furnishings from various time periods in its history. Learn about the hardships immigrants had to undergo during the Great Depression, learn about the difficult lives of sweatshop workers in the 1800s and find out how immigrants shaped New York City to be what it is today.


Various tours are available, each with a different focus on a historical period or culture. Open 10am thorugh 6pm every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.