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Fodor's New York City 2014
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New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society Review
Manhattan's oldest museum, founded in 1804, was brought up-to-date and out of the shadow of its more celebrated museum-neighbor (yes, that place with the dinosaurs) with a three-year $70 million renovation, completed in 2011. In the process, an under-the-radar museum and one of the city's finest research libraries stepped into the spotlight, delivering a contemporary glass facade, sleek technology and interactivity, a new children's museum, restaurant, and inventive exhibitions that showcase the museum's eclectic collections and voice. While the museum's permanent collection of more than 6 million pieces of art, literature, and memorabilia sheds light on America's history, art, and architecture, it's the special exhibits like the recent The Black Fives (a history of the African American basketball teams that existed in New York City and elsewhere from the early 1900s through 1950), Keith Haring All-Over (featuring everyday items transformed by famed New York artist Keith Haring), and WWII & NYC that showcase this museum's fresh—and often surprising—insight on all things New York.
The DiMenna Children's History Museum on the lower level invites children to become "history detectives" and to explore New York's past through interactive displays, hands-on activities, and the stories of iconic New York children through the centuries. The Historical Viewfinder allows kids to see how certain New York sites have changed over time. Unlike most other childrens' museums, this museum is geared to mature elementary school kids and middle schoolers, not toddlers. Caffé Storico, the light-filled restaurant on the first floor (with a separate entrance), serves upscale Italian food at lunch and dinner, and is open for brunch on the weekends.
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