By Denise Mattia
The New York Historical Society, a landmark building, opened its doors to the public on Veterns Day, November 11th, after a three-year, $70 million renovation of the Central Park West building. Since then, visitors to the museum – the first museum established in New York – enter the new 3,400-square-foot admissions area, which incorporates a Keith Haring original Pop Shop donated by the Keith Haring Foundation, and the Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History. The centerpiece of the gallery contain collections that show New York’s critical role in United States history during the period from 1776 through 1804, the year the Historical Society was founded. Visitors can learn about the interrelationships among events, ideas and people depicted on the wall by using touch-screen monitors close by – a dynamic concept developed by the David Small Design Firm.
Dispersed throughout the Smith Gallery are nine exhibition cases installed in the floor, showcasing relics such as arrowheads and military buttons, in addition to a clock from the World Trade Center debris, which stopped shortly after the first attack on September 11, 2001.
NWTWA members and guests visited the DiMenna Children’s History Museum in the 4,000-square-foot vaulted lower level. A section of this area invites children to become History Detectives, by learning about the past through learning about historical artifacts and replicas, while young visitors and their families find places to sit and read children’s books (sadly the designers of the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History library chose to install faux tomes on the shelves rather than real ones) and to use interactive displays to explore rare books, manuscripts and maps from the New-York Historical collection.
The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture on the fourth floor houses masterpieces of furniture and decorative arts (silver, china, ceramics, and glass), sculpture, textiles, toys and jewelry spanning four centuries. The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library is installed on the second floor in addition to the Civil Rights Gallery, the Luman Read Galleries, the Barbara Knowles Debs Educational Center and the departments of prints, photographs and architectural collections.
New-York Historical Society is open Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, Friday until 8 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and educators, $10 for students. Children under seven years are free. For more information, visit www.nyhistory.org