New York City’s Museum Mile encompasses a portion of Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 110th Street. It is best known for being home to a richly diverse collection of cultural institutions- easily some of the best the city has to offer. Each museum and gallery provides a unique experience that allows everyone to find something that appeals to them.
The Museum Mile’s festival is held every year on the second Tuesday of June to promote public support of the arts. The Mile currently includes nine museums open to the public, here’s what you need to know about each of them.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met holds the distinction of being the largest museum in New York City, drawing in over four million visitors annually. This vast institution contains fine art exhibits, sculptures, and relics showcasing years of human history across multiple millennia and eras. The museum is particularly admired for its highly popular Egyptian wing-featuring the largest collection of Egyptian art and artifacts outside of Cairo, including the full-scale Temple of Dendur. The Met is open every day except on Wednesdays.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Modern art and architecture are the Guggenheim’s specialty. The exterior was designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and is striking in its iconic spiral shape that has captivated audiences for generations. The museum was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2019 as a homage to Wright’s legacy. The interior is just as impressive, with over 8,000 works on display and counting. The Thannhauser Collection- showcasing Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and modern French works by renowned artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso- is one of the more popular installations currently being showcased.
Museum of the City of New York
A hundred-year institution that is an ever-evolving tribute to New York City, rigorously documenting big and small moments significant to Gotham’s story over time. Whether it’s paintings, photographs, furniture, costumes, or something else entirely, this 1.5 million-piece collection breathes life into the city’s constantly evolving history. One of the museum’s newest exhibitions- This is New York- chronicles art and pop culture across different mediums and will be on display through July 21st of next year.
The Jewish Museum
Unrivaled in its quality and breadth, The Jewish Museum maintains a vast collection honoring the contributions of many different Jewish artists and the heritage of Jewish people for more than a hundred years. The museum offers riveting educational exhibitions and programs geared toward all ages and backgrounds. Currently, a fashion tribute to the entrepreneur Gaby Aghion and her legacy as the founder of the French Fashion house, Chloé, will be on display through the middle of February.
El Museo del Barrio
For those interested in all things related to Puerto Rico, Latin America and the Caribbean, El Museo del Barrio is the perfect place to spend the day. The long-standing attraction is considered a bedrock of its East Harlem neighborhood, with artifacts dating back to the 13th century and showcases featuring Puerto Rican and Nuyorican artists. They also offer bilingual programs for guests to develop a deeper appreciation of the art they come across. Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección- a 500-piece work of art transcending geography and media categories- is the current centerpiece of El Museo del Barrio’s exhibitions. The museum is open from Thursday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Africa Center
This intimate collection of exhibits gives its audiences a contemporary viewing of the art and culture coming from a fresh wave of underappreciated African artists and creatives. The Africa Center is the Musem Mile’s most recent addition, having been created in 2019, and currently foregrounds the work of emerging photographers from different African countries on the subject of climate change’s impact within their communities. Admission to the Center is generally free outside of ticketed exhibitions, programs, and events.
Neue Galerie New York
Glamorous tributes to Austrian and German art are abundant at this Fifth Avenue mansion-turned-museum. Neue Galerie dedicates floor space to lesser-known 19th and 20th-century designers such as Oskar Kokoschka and Gustav Klimt. The third floor of the museum features rotating exhibitions throughout the year, with the current display being Max Beckmann: The Formative Years, 1915-1925, which will run through January 15th.
National Academy Museum
Exhibition, education, and research are the National Academy Museum’s core priorities. Their aim to promote the fine arts in America for the general public’s enjoyment is emphasized by their lively community of peer-selected artists and architects dedicated to further changing and enriching society. Drawing as Practice, an exhibition giving airtime and commentary to the intricacies and depth of the medium is the must-see display located on the museum's second floor and available through December 16th.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
This iconic institution is the only one in the nation to solely focus on design- both historical and contemporary. Guests will be greeted by almost three centuries worth of sculpture, furniture, metalwork, paintings, and other decorative arts to peruse at their leisure. The museum is located in the former Andrew Carnegie Mansion and offers four floors to browse which are also available to view online. Currently on display is the Give Me A Sign: The Language of Symbols exhibit, demonstrating the dynamics and collaborative efforts that go into crafting symbol-based artwork through the middle of next year.