Can a Historical Society be a fun place to visit? You bet! Tomi and Mimi went to see the DiMenna Children’s Museum inside the New York Historical Society (NYHS) in the UWS of New York City. They couldn’t get enough of the activities, galleries, Story Time and objects they found. Come, let Tomi and Mimi show you around the museum.
A little history
The Historical Society in New York was actually built precisely for the reason to preserve and catalogue the history of the – then new – American nation. Fearing that important stories and moments of their time would get lost, 11 founders decided to build the museum on the Upper West Side of New York City. And that is where Tomi and Mimi went and they loved everything they saw!
What to expect
You could head straight to the downstairs children’s history museum, but there is so much more to see and explore. Of course the exhibitions change, but some are permanent and Tomi and Mimi really recommend you see them.
Be prepared to be awed by color, light and a magical show of display. No, it is not a magician’s performance, quite the contrary. It is a room filled with beautiful lamps. All shades are made of glass and lead in the most amazing patterns. Some resemble flowers, others drooping branches of a blossoming tree, but all of them are colorful and mesmerizing. These lamps were made by the famous Tiffany company founded by Mr. Louis Tiffany. However, many (or most) of the designs came from the brilliant mind of Clara Driscoll. Her girls from the Women’s Glass Cutting Department made them into these lovely lampshades. These lamps are spectacularly displayed on the fourth floor.
Audubon Gallery at the NY Historical Society
Tomi and Mimi did an artist study on Audubon, a French artist who mapped most of North America’s birds. He was became famous for drawing the birds in action, rather than stiff on a branch. He could do that by observing them in nature. Believe it or not, that was quite unusual in his time. Also on the fourth floor of the New York Historical Society is a (tiny) exhibition devoted to Audubon and his birds. Small, but ever so loved, and worth a look.
Oval Office and President Gallery
Do you want to be President of the United States one day? Check out how it feels to sit in the Oval Office on the fourth floor. There is an exact version – to scale – where you can sit at the President’s desk and pretend to be the leader of the country. To get inspired, walk through the President Gallery with portraits of all the US presidents to date.
Tin Toy display
On the ground floor, on your way to the museum shop and the museum cafe, is a display with tin toys. Wound-up toys that spin, turn or go. The Choo-Choo train that goes around and around the display, is the first thing you will notice. But look closer and you see a Ferris wheel, submarine or plane.
DiMenna Children’s Historical Museum
The biggest attraction for children visiting the museum is downstairs: The DiMenna Children’s Historical Museum. Full of hands-on activities, pretend play, interactive video games, photo props, old toys, coins, and the children’s library.
Story time at the museum
New York Historical Society organizes a lot of activities for families and children, be it educational, creative or story time (both online and in person). Tomi and Mimi have been reading and crafting along with Little New Yorkers for sometime now, but this was the first time they went in person at the museum. Such fun they had, listening to the read aloud, singing welcome songs and crafting their book inspired collage. Story time is on Sunday Afternoons, but check the dates, times and books on the Family Calendar on their website. They also offer Hablamos desde Casa – Bilingual story time.
See you at the New York Historical Society
When you visit New York or when you live here and don’t know what to do? Head out the the NYHS on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy the story time or other activities that the New York Historical Society organize. See you there again soon!
If you like this post, you might also like other travel stories from Tomi and Mimi; Rail Museum New Delhi in India, Adventure on an old trading ship in Amsterdam, Netherlands or the Thang Long Water Puppet theater in Hanoi, Vietnam.