Spring 2021 is starting to look pretty good. In addition to the gradual reopening of indoor dining, movie theaters and more, NYC’s museums are rolling out new exhibits for kids and families. Read on for the latest on museum exhibits in NYC this spring, as well important safety precautions and ticketing info! (You’re still gonna need a reservation, and a mask.)
The Roof Garden Commission: Alex Da Corte, As Long as the Sun Lasts
The Met has unveiled its 2021 Roof Garden Commission, and we dare anyone to not love it. Philadelphia-based artist Alex Da Corte created a 26-foot-tall kinetic sculpture featuring the beloved Sesame Street character Big Bird and the modern aesthetic of Alexander Calder’s standing mobiles.
The work is comprised of a base with three interlocking pieces and a mobile component that sways and rotates gently with passing air currents. Suspended from near the top of the sculpture, covered in roughly 7,000 individually placed laser-cut aluminum feathers, Big Bird is found perched on a crescent moon with a ladder in hand—"suggesting the possibility of passage back to Earth or to other galaxies."
On view through Oct. 31, 2021
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave.
Upper East Side
KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature at the New York Botanical Garden
Postponed due to the pandemic, this highly-anticipated show featuring Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's work opens on April 10. The exhibit features large-scale installations of Kusama’s multifaceted art, including monumental floral sculptures throughout NYBG’s 250-acre landmark landscape. New works debuting in the show include Dancing Pumpkin and I Want to Fly to the Universe, as well as the artist’s first-ever obliteration greenhouse, Flower Obsession. More exciting news: Cosmic Nature will include a brand new Infinity Mirrored Room—Illusion Inside the Heart for which there will be timed entry tickets and Covid-19 safety protocols to be determined. Tickets go on sale March 11 for members, and March 16 to the general public.
April 10-Oct. 31
Tickets: $35/adults; $32/students & seniors; $15/ages 2-12; free/kids under 2
2900 Southern Blvd.
The Jim Henson Exhibition
This incredible retrospective of master puppeteer and creator Jim Henson at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens is open again after a long Covid-19 pause. (The Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.)
Reserved-time tickets are on sale now through June 27. Get yours here!
Check out all the museum exhibits we're excited about this spring here!
Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Ave.
KAWS: WHAT PARTY at the Brooklyn Museum
The work of Brooklyn's own KAWS (Brian Donnelly) is center stage at the Brooklyn Museum's KAWS: WHAT PARTY. The show is a sweeping survey that includes more than 100 broad-ranging works, such as rarely seen graffiti drawings and notebooks, paintings and sculptures, smaller collectibles, furniture and monumental installations of his popular COMPANION figures. It also features new pieces made uniquely for the exhibition along with his early-career altered advertisements. Visitors will also be able to interact virtually with his sculptures using their smartphones, thanks to new augmented reality works created in collaboration with digital art platform Acute Art.
Through Sept. 5, 2021
200 Eastern Pkwy.
Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America at the New Museum
Continue discussions about race and visit “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America," an intergenerational exhibition that brings together 37 artists working in a variety of mediums. All have addressed the concept of mourning, commemoration, and loss as a direct response to the national emergency of racist violence experienced by Black communities across America. The show further considers the intertwined phenomena of Black grief and a politically orchestrated white grievance, as each structures and defines contemporary American social and political life.
Through June 6
The New Museum
Museum of the City of New York: The Stettheimer Dollhouse
This is no ordinary dollhouse. One of the jewels of the Museum of the City of New York, the Stettheimer Dollhouse is the work of New York Carrie Stettheimer, one of three sisters who traveled in the intellectual avant-garde circles of 1920s New York City. The house reflects the artistic, aesthetic, and cultural milieu in which she and her sisters moved. Don't miss the ballroom, which features miniature works gifted to Carrie by some of the leading names of modern art in New York at the time including Louis Bouché, Gaston Lachaise, Marguerite and William Zorach, and many others. A particular highlight is Marcel Duchamp’s miniature version of his famous "Nude Descending a Staircase," which had created a sensation at the 1913 Armory Show in New York City.
Also at the museum, New York Responds looks at the city in 2020, as it confronted the pandemic and racial injustice, featuring images and stories submitted by New Yorkers.
Finally, City/Game: Basketball in New York, which looks at the story of the sport in New York, everywhere it's played, from the school yard to the stadium. The show Activist New York explores the drama of social activism in the city from the 17th century to present day.
Tickets are by timed entry (click here to reserve) and the museum is open Thursday to Monday. Thursdays from 10-11 a.m. are designated for high-risk individuals and seniors. See all of the museum's safety measures here.
Through May 9`
1220 Fifth Ave. at 103rd Street
Upper East Side
ARTECHOUSE NYC: Geometric Properties
ARTECHOUSE NYC, New York’s first permanent art space dedicated solely to immersive digital art, is opening its 2021 exhibition season with Geometric Properties. Created by Julius Horsthuis, an award-winning visual and fractal artist based out of Amsterdam, the immersive audio-visual installation is described as "a mind-bending journey through the infinite geometric patterns of fractal worlds, [taking] us on an exploration from our recent past to an ideal future — one that returns to nature and math as a source for inspiration." (It looks pretty cool, too!)
Tickets: $24/adults; $17/ages 4-17; free/children under the age of 4; $20/Students, Seniors, Military & First Responders:$20
March 1 - Sept. 6
439 W. 15th St.
MoMA Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America
MoMA’s first exhibition to explore the relationship between architecture and the spaces of African American and African diaspora communities, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America presents 10 newly commissioned works by architects, designers, and artists that explore ways in which histories can be made visible and equity can be built. Each project in the exhibition proposes an intervention in one of 10 cities: from the front porches of Miami and the bayous of New Orleans to the freeways of Oakland and Syracuse. Reconstructions examines the intersections of anti-Black racism and Blackness within urban spaces as sites of resistance and refusal, attempting to repair what it means to be American.
Through May 31
11 West 53rd St., between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum—the real aircraft carrier parked on the west side in Midtown—reopens March 25, with new and restored experiences for visitors. The Intrepid’s pilot escalator has been restored and made available to the public for the first time in decades. Installed in the 1950s, it is no longer operational; however, visitors can walk up the escalator from the hangar deck to the flight deck and learn about its mechanics and role during service. Also new is the opportunity to peek into one of the ship's bomb elevators, and in mid-May, visitors will be able to experience a recreated photo lab, and learn about the crew whose job included documenting everything from enemy aircraft and operational accidents to daily life on board.
Additional experiences have been made available to explore, including numerous spaces within the aircraft carrier Intrepid, the supersonic airliner Concorde and the space shuttle Enterprise. To get even more out of your visit, use the museum's Interactive Mobile Guide, which allows guests to scan QR codes on exhibits for more info.
Entrance is by timed tickets—buy them here—and the museum is now open Thursday to Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Capacity is limited and some areas remain closed, but most of the 350,000-square-foot complex is open. Masks are required for all visitors over two years of age.
Tickets: $33/adults; $31/seniors, $24/ages 5-12
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
West 46th St. & 12th Ave.
Whitney Museum of American Art: Julie Mehretu
This show covers more than two decades of the trailblazing artist Julie Mehrtu's examination of painting, history, geopolitics, and displacement. Featuring approximately 30 paintings and 40 works on paper dating from 1996 to today, the exhibition fills the museum's entire fifth floor gallery, taking advantage of the wide open space. The show is the most comprehensive overview to date of Mehretu’s practice, which explores abstraction, architecture, landscape, scale, and figuration.
To visit the Whitney, you must reserve tickets in advance online—do so here. Masks are required, as is social distancing and capacity is reduced to 25 percent.
March 25- Aug. 8, 2021
99 Gansevoort St.
Children's Museum of Manhattan
The Children's Museum of Manhattan is open with lots of safety precautions in place to keep everyone healthy, including routine sanitizing, temperature checks, reduced capacity, masks and social distancing.
The museum is offering two curated family experiences that must be reserved in advance, with timed entry. Each 1 hour and 45 minute session will have limited capacity and includes a visit to two of the Museum’s award-winning exhibits, allowing increased space to safely explore, climb, move, and play.
Playful Explorers, invites younger kids to play, learn and imagine in CMOM’s Playworks and Adventures with Dora and Diego exhibits. Educator-led experiences include storytime, singing and music and personal activity kits.
Big kids will enjoy Superpowered Creators, featuring the Inside Art and Superpowered Metropolis exhibits. Climb through original three-dimensional artworks and make your own art to take home, then visit a comic book-inspired NYC with a two-story treehouse headquarters for Zip, Zap and Zoom, three superpowered pigeons. Experience a delightful wind-blowing fountain, create city sounds in the magical subway car and drive a superpowered pigeon mobile. Educator-led experiences include art-making, a scavenger hunt and personal activity kits.
Tickets: $15/kids and adults; $12/seniors, free/infants and members
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St.
Upper West Side
The Brooklyn Children's Museum
This popular kids museum is currently open on weekends, select holidays, and Thursdays from 2-5 p.m., when entry is pay what you wish. (You still need to make a reservation.) Popular longstanding exhibits include World Brooklyn, Neighborhood Nature, Totally Tots, Collections Central and The Nest, but you must make a timed reservation for a 90-minute session. Do that here.
ColorLab Sessions, workshops in the Museum’s art studio that offer families an opportunity to
explore print-making, collage and sculpture projects are also available through timed reservation. Make a reservation here.
Sat. & Sun. and select holidays.; Thursdays, 2-5 p.m., pay what you wish
145 Brooklyn Ave.
Liberty Science Center: Beyond Rubik's Cube
Beyond Rubik’s Cube is the world’s first museum exhibition all about the Rubik’s Cube puzzle. It allows visitors to experience games, puzzles, history, art, and engineering—all inspired by Ernő Rubik’s best-selling masterpiece.
Tickets and parking must be purchased in advance, capacity is reduced, there is no eating or drinking inside the building, and air filters have been replaced and upgraded. Face masks are required. Read all of the safety protocols here, and read our guide to the Liberty Science Center with kids here.
Open Thurs. - Sun.
Liberty Science Center
222 Jersey City Blvd.
Liberty State Park
Liberty Science Center : Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: A Grr-iffic Exhibit
Also at the Liberty Science Center, you can visit Daniel Tiger's neighborhood and all his familiar friends at this interactive exhibit for little ones. Through immersive experiences, visitors collaborate to solve problems, use their imaginations to transform their surroundings, and play along with Daniel’s singable strategies as they learn life’s little lessons. Children can play instruments at the Music Shop, sort, deliver, and receive packages and letters at the Post Office, create stories at the Movable Character Mural, and even write or draw a thank-you note at the "Thank You Tree." The exhibit is included with museum admission.
Through May 9
222 Jersey City Blvd.
Liberty State Park
Public Art Downtown
Two dynamic art installations, on loan from Amsterdam’s Light Art Collection, are on view courtesy of The Downtown Alliance. public plaza adjacent to 85 Broad Street from February 6 through March 21. "C/C" by Singapore-based artist Angela Chong, is an acrylic and steel piece that functions as a sitting area. It casts complex shadows by day, and transforms into a colorful LED light show at night.
"Talking Heads" (pictured) is a pair of two, 21-foot-tall sculptures that communicate through the universal language of emotion. Without any moving parts, the heads hold full conversations between one another by emoting through over 4,000 LEDs that illuminate their facial expressions. "Talking Heads" is designed by Viktor Vicsek, who resides in Hungary, and specializes in light and projection work.
Through March 21
Public Plaza, adjacent to 85 Broad Street
Immersive Van Gogh
This high tech exploration of the Dutch painter's work doesn't debut until June 10, but the exhibit has been selling out in cities nationwide. An hour-long, immersive experience (that promises Covid-19 precautions) the exhibit is made up of 60,600 frames of video, 90,000,000 pixels, and 500,000+ cubic feet of projections. Producers describe it as "merging state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling and world-class animation."
Tickets: starting at $39.99
The Cloisters, the Met's uptown outpost devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, reopened September 12. You'll find approximately 2,000 works of art from medieval Europe here, including exquisite illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, metalwork, enamels, ivories and enormous tapestries. The buildings themselves are modeled on sacred spaces from 12th to the 15th centuries, and the courtyards and gardens contained within are filled with plantings based on historical writings and art.
Note that The Cloisters are open Thursday - Monday; winter hours are 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., November to February. You must reserved tickets in advance. Do that here.
Tickets: $25/adults; $17/seniors; $12/students, free/kids under 12.
99 Margaret Corbin Dr.
Fort Tryon Park
The American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History is a favorite of both kids and adults. You must reserve timed tickets in advance (do so here or on the museum's app) and visitors ages two and older must wear a mask. Capacity is capped at 25 percent of normal visitation to allow ample room for physical distancing.
In addition to the classics such as the Blue Whale and the dinosaurs (including the massive Titanosaur, pictured here) special exhibits on view at the museum are The Nature of Color and T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator, (closing March 15!) as well as one addressing the history and issues surrounding the museum's statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which the institution has requested be removed.
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West & 79th Street
Upper West Side
The Museum of Ice Cream
Yes, the Museum of Ice Cream is open! An immersive walk-through experience dedicated to the sweet treat, the MOIC opened a permanent NYC flagship in December of 2019, but shut down in March. It's back, and COVID-19 precautions are in place, and include a new ventilation system, mask and glove requirements, deep cleanings at the beginning and end of every day, cleaning surfaces following any touching by visitors, capacity reduction, etc. You can read all safety measures here.
You must reserve tickets in advance, and the museum is open Thursday through Sunday now.
The Museum of Ice Cream
If you missed your chance to visit this shrine to slime when it opened last year, you have another chance. It's slightly altered (people play with their own slimes, not a collective vat, as was done previously), and you get to take slime home. Expect artisanal, scented slime, interactive activities, a massive DIY slime bar, slime experiments, an immersive ASMR tunnel, a lake of slime to walk on, and more. Advanced tickets are timed, masks are required, staff is in masks and gloves, and capacity is reduced. Dress in your get messy clothes and prepare to open your wallet: it's $39 a ticket. A percentage of sales goes to mental health charities.
Museum of Illusions
Created in Zagreb, Croatia (with additional outposts in Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, and beyond) the museum is both educational and a spot for fun photo ops. Visitors can explore more than 70 elements and experiences that include "illusionistic rooms", optical illusions, and puzzles. Every "piece" in the museum is accompanied by a clear and concise explanation of what is causing or creating the illusion; mathematical, biological, and psychological concepts are all touched upon, as are perception, vision, and how the human brain works. This museum is an outstanding (and very fun) way to engage kids with complex scientific principles, and help them understand through experience. The well-curated gift shop allows you to take home some of the brain-bending fun.
Entry is by timed ticket, masks and temperature checks are required, the air filtration system has been upgraded you'll find hand sanitizer throughout the museum. Read more COVID-19 safety measures here.
77 Eighth Ave.
Museum of the Dog
The American Kennel Club celebrates humans' best friend with its Museum of the Dog on Park Avenue. (Previously located in St. Louis, the museum is now housed in the same building as the AKC.) Expect fine art such as paintings and sculptures dedicated to dogs big and small, as well as tributes created using modern technology. Ticketing is by advanced reservation, and masks are required. The museum is closed Mondays.
Tickets: $15/adults; $5/kids 12 and under, $10/seniors 65 and older
101 Park Ave.
Upper East Side