Unique Museums in New York City

Who doesn’t love the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters, or the Morgan Library and Museum? However sometimes it’s exciting to visit new places, see new exhibits and access different scholarship. With that in mind we offer up some of the best lesser known museums in New York City, that academic and hobbyist historians alike will enjoy!

The Morbid Anatomy Museum 

424-A 3rd Ave Brooklyn NY

Hours: Wenesday-Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm house of wax

Cost:  $10.00

This non-profit museum advertises that they “explore the intersections of death, beauty and all things that fall between the cracks.” They feature items which are considered, “Gothic, beautiful, and disturbing.” Past rotating exhibits have included “The Art of Mourning” and “Opus Hypnagogia: Scared Spaces of the Visionary and Vernacular.” Currently the museum is exhibiting “House of Wax: Anatomical, Pathological wax works from Castan’s Panopticum (Berlin, 1869-1922)” which features an introduction by Dr. Peter Mcissac, Professor of German and Museum Studies at the University of Michigan. Also at the museum is the Morbid Anatomy Research library  which  features  “thousands of books, photographs, artworks, pieces of ephemera, and artifacts relating to medical museums, anatomical art, collectors and collecting, cabinets of curiosity, the history of medicine, death and society, natural history, arcane media, and curiosity and curiosities broadly considered.” The library is open and free to researchers by appointment. 

For more information about the museum visit their website.

Reach out to laetitia@morbidanatomymuseum.org to make an appointment at the research library.



The City Reliquary

A glimpse of the permanent collection at the NYC Reliquary Museum

A glimpse of the permanent collection at the NYC Reliquary Museum

370 Metropolitan Ave Brooklyn NY

Hours: Thursday-Sunday 12 pm- 6 pm

Suggested Donation

This is an exciting museum for historians who focus on material culture! Although this museum looks like a shop from the outside, it is home to artifacts relating to the history of New York City. It features a permanent collection of an unique and varied assortment of NYC ‘relics, an exhibit hall with rotating temporary exhibits, and temporary rotating community-curated exhibits. The most recent community exhibit ended in February (and the next one has yet to be announced), however the exhibit hall is currently showing “Visionary Streetscapes: Works from Pure Vision Arts.” The art in this exhibit was made by artists from Pure Vision Arts,  “Manhattan’s first specialized art studio and exhibition space for artists with autism and other developmental disabilities” and is on display until May 20, 2016.

More information can be found on the museum’s website.


Conjuring Arts Research Center




While it’s  not quite a museum, but this unique research library will interest any book lover especially those who attended the Book History seminar this semester with Professor Theirry Rigone. The Conjuring Arts Research Library boasts that they are the best place to find information on all things magic and conjuring related–and features books about magicians, magic, conjuring, and witches. This is a closed stack research library, and only accessible by appointment, however it is well worth the trip. Also, interestingly, if you’re looking for a magician for your next shin-dig  the library can find the perfect magician for you based on your magic preferences and party specifics. 

To make an appointment visit their application page. 

To find a magician visit their magician hiring messaging center.

And if you’re interested in the history of magic, you can sign up here for their newsletter. (right hand side)


The Museum of the Moving Image 

36-01 35 Avenue Astoria, NY

Hours: Wednesdays–Thursdays: 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

An image from the exhibit "Behind the Screen"

An image from the exhibit “Behind the Screen”

Fridays: 10:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. (free admission: 4:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.)
Saturdays and Sundays: 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

Cost: $15 adults (18+)
$11 senior citizens (65+)
$11 students with valid ID (18+)
$7 youth (3-17)
Free for Museum members and children under 3

This museum is devoted to the history of the moving image! From their website: ” Embracing a wide range of subjects, from nineteenth century optical toys to the latest in digital art, the Museum explores every phase of the production, promotion, and exhibition of moving images. It offers an engaging, highly interactive core exhibition, programs of contemporary and classic films from around the world, discussions with leading figures in film and television, a unique collection, inspiring educational programs for learners of all ages, stimulating changing exhibitions, and groundbreaking online projects.” This exciting and unique museum sometimes features hidden, secret interactive exhibits, so when you visit keep your eyes peeled! Current exhibits include:  “Behind the Screen” (an on-going exhibit), “To the Moon and Beyond: Graphic Films of the Inception of 2001 A Space Odyssey” and “Computer Films of the 1960s”.  Coming soon is the Jim Henson Exhibit, which should excite all Muppet fans.

Click here to explore the museum’s very detailed and dynamic website.





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