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.)

photo: The Roof Garden Commission, Alex Da Corte, As Long as theCourtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, photo by Anna-Marie Kellen

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
Online: metmuseum.org


photo: D. Finnin/© AMNH

The Halls of Gems and Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History Reopen

The American Museum of Natural History is a favorite of both kids and adults. The big news this summer is that one of the museum's most popular and beloved spaces, the Hall of Gems, returns to public view on June 12. It's been completely redesigned and reinstalled, and is now the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.

The 11,000-square-foot hall showcases one of the greatest collections of its kind. Dazzling gems on view include the legendary 563-carat Star of India sapphire, the 632-carat Patricia Emerald, and the 110-carat diamond Organdie necklace designed by Michelle Ong for Carnet. Plus new specimens including a pair of towering, sparkling amethyst geodes that are among the world’s largest on display, a slice of a 35-million-year-old metasequoia—a petrified dawn redwood from the Cascade Mountains—the 9-pound almandine Subway Garnet discovered under Manhattan’s 35th Street in 1885, and the Tarugo, a 3-foot-tall cranberry-colored elbaite tourmaline that is one of the largest intact mineral crystal clusters ever found. Wow! Maybe the best news of all? It's included in the General Admission price to the museum, and is on permanent view!

In addition to the musuem's classics such as the  Blue Whale and the world-famous dinosaurs, special exhibits on view at the museum are The Nature of Color and as well as one addressing the history and issues surrounding the museum's statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which the institution has requested be removed. Need more? Check out a show at the museum's Hayden Planetarium

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
Upper West Side
Online: amnh.org

photo: NYBG/Ota Fine Arts

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.
Online: nybg.org

photo: Guggenheim Museum

A Year with Children Exhibit at the Guggenheim

During the lockdown, these kids found a way to enjoy and express themselves through art. This year's "A Year with Children" exhibit showcases art from public school students from second through sixth grades, created with the Learning Through Art education program. Visit the exhibit to celebrate the power of art to transcend hardships, and to find inspiration.

Apr. 30-June 21
During museum hours
Price: $25/adult, Free/children 12 and under
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St.
Upper East Side
Online: guggenheim.org  

photo: The Muppets Studio LLC

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.
Online: movingimage.us

photo: Brooklyn Museum of Art

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. 
Crown Heights 
Online: brooklynmuseum.org

photo: The New Museum

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
235 Bowery
Online: newmuseum.org


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. 
Online: artechouse.com

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
Pier 86
West 46th St. & 12th Ave.
Midtown Manhattan
Online: intrepidmuseum.org

photo: Rik Sferra

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. 
Online: whitney.org

photo: CMOM

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
Online: www.cmom.org

photo: Winston Williams

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
Tickets: $13
145 Brooklyn Ave. 
Crown Heights
Online: brooklynkids.org

photo: Liberty Science Center

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
Online: lsc.org

photo: Michael Brosilow

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

Online: vangoghnyc.com

The Cloisters

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
Online: metmuseum.org


photo: Museum of Ice Cream NYC

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
558 Broadway
Online: museumoficecream.com

photo: Sloomoo Institute

Sloomoo Institute

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.  

Sloomoo Institute 
475 Broadway
Online: sloomooinstitute.com

photo: Museum of Illusions

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.
Online: newyork.museumofillusions.us

photo: AKC/David Woo

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
Online: museumofthedog.org

—Mimi O’Connor


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