Museums have always played an important role in society, preserving the world's history and heritage for current and future generations. Many believe the earliest known museum dates back to 530 BC-Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum preserved artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia.
At first, museums were usually private galleries reserved for the wealthy elite and closed to the public. It wasn't until recent years that large museums established for public viewing became available to the average citizen.
New York is lucky to be the home of some of the world's largest and most celebrated collections of artistic, historical, and cultural artifacts. The state's museums are as distinct as its regions, with New York museums showcasing everything from iconic baseball memorabilia to ancient Egyptian temples.
With such an abundance of institutions, it can be hard to narrow down your choices. Let's explore 10 of the finest museums New York has to offer:
Topping our list is The Met, one of the most-visited art museums in the entire world. Ideally situated in Central Park, its sprawling building boasts an extremely diverse collection of art, architecture, sculpture, and artifacts from all different eras and locations around the world. Check out the impressive Egyptian Temple of Dendur or the Chinese Buddha sculpture in the Asian art galleries.
This Cooperstown must-see was dedicated in 1939 with a mission to honor anyone who has played baseball or managed the sport. The National Baseball Hall of Fame is impeccably maintained, filled with authentic memorabilia in the form of baseballs, uniforms, cards, gloves, and more. Thousands of MLB artifacts from seasons past can be viewed in the fascinating "team lockers." Don't leave without checking out the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig exhibits!
Ellis Island served as the stopping point for over 12 million immigrants who came to New York City between 1892 and 1954. Many Americans can trace their ancestry to someone who passed through Ellis Island's immigration station, where they were given legal and medical examinations before being allowed on American soil. In 1965, the island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and now the ferry to the island will also bring you to Lady Liberty. Walk through the breathtaking Great Hall and see if you might find your ancestor on the Wall of Honor.
Buffalo is the home of not one, but an impressive seven works by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The grandest of them is the Martin House Complex, which was given National Historic Landmark status in 1986. The complex, built between 1903 and 1905, consists of six interconnected buildings designed for the wealthy businessman Darwin D. Martin and his family. It is considered one of the finest works of Frank Lloyd Wright's entire career. While you're there, check out the conservatory and the pergola, and see the architect's famous stained glass art, "Tree of Life."
New York City's Museum of Modern Art is considered to be among the most influential modern art museums in the world. This midtown gem was established in 1929 and houses an ever-expanding collection of modern and contemporary art, including the famous painting, "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh. The museum is filled with other iconic art, including pieces by Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, and others.
Though it's less than two hours from New York City by train or car, the Hudson Valley's Storm King Art Center feels like a faraway land. This peaceful 500-acre outdoor sculpture garden has an otherworldly feel to it-striking sculptures by Alexander Calder, David Smith, and Roy Lichtenstein are artfully scattered amongst a sprawling natural setting. Anyone who appreciates nature and sculpture will never forget this art museum.
Lake Placid, a charming town in the Adirondacks, is the only location in North America to have hosted two separate Winter Olympic Games. The Lake Placid Olympic Museum commemorates the 1932 games and the 1980 games, where the famous "Miracle on Ice" hockey game was played. Opened in 1994, the museum displays plenty of information on the history of winter sports as well as artifacts like the "Fram III" bobsled and memorabilia from the "Miracle on Ice" game.
The Upper West Side's Museum of Natural History is among the best in the world, focusing on human culture, nature, and the cosmos. Since it opened its doors in 1869, the New York City museum has collected an astonishing 32 million artifacts, including one of the largest dinosaur collections in the world. When you go, don't miss a trip to the dinosaur wing or the 429-seat planetarium
Located on the grounds of the Roosevelt's family estate, Springwood, this Hyde Park museum is the site of the United States' first presidential library. It was the former president's mission to create a library to collect and preserve the presidential papers he amassed during his four terms. The grounds contain 12,000 square feet of fascinating exhibit space dedicated to the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt-you can even view the study where FDR recorded his famous "fireside chats."
One of the newest and most popular museums in New York City, the 9/11 Memorial Museum & Museum is devoted to preserving the memory of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center. Visiting this museum is a solemn but fascinating experience, with recorded oral recounts, salvaged pieces of the buildings, photos, news clips, and thousands of other artifacts on display. After the museum, visit the 9/11 memorial-two dark, tranquil pools set in the foundations of the Twin Towers.