#10 THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM:
The American Folk Art Museum in New York City is a tribute to true Americana. The term “Folk Art” refers to self-taught genres of art that are often minimalist and unpretentious. Most museums house elitist art which, don’t get me wrong, can be very good but it is refreshing to give praise to little-known artists who had little training or education in field. This is the kind of art that the average working or middle class person makes at home. Often to beautiful results. This museum is located near Lincoln Center and used to have another large location right next door to MoMA. The MoMA, much to my dissatisfaction, wanted to expand and bought out and their space. The original location was amazing and it’s a shame it’s no longer there cause it was, in my opinion, the more enjoyable museum compared to the MoMa. C’est la vie. However, the Lincoln Center location is wonderful although small. This is a top museum and real celebration of authentic American art.
#9 COOPER HEWITT DESIGN MUSEUM:
The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum is one of the lesser appreciated museums along Museum Mile in New York City. With The Met and The Guggenheim being its close neighbors it often gets put on the tourist back burner. This, however, should not be the case. This museum explores interior design and decorative arts in a fun interactive way. It is inside a 64 room New York City mansion that was built around 1900. Everything from the entrance garden to the stair cases is opulent. The most exciting aspect of the museum is how personal of an experience it can be. When you enter you are give an electronic pen and a website code. Everything you scan with this pen will save to a personal profile on the Cooper Hewitt website so you can continue to educate yourself on all your favorite items. There is always something fun and exciting to be experienced here!
#8 THE GUGGENHEIM:
The Guggenheim really is worth it’s hype. It’s architecture is icon and it’s one of the world’s leading museums for modern art. No museum is more of an interactive experience than the Guggenheim.
#7 THE MET BREUER:
The Met Breuer is 2016’s best new addition to the city. When the Whitney moved downtown The Met bought this Modernist wonder of architecture and turned it into a wonder spot for modern and contemporary art. The Met itself may be synonymous with the old world of art but the The Met Breuer is the city’s premiere location to see the new works of the 20th and 21st century.
#6 NEUE GALLERY:
The Neue Gallery is New York’s destination for German and Austrian Art. On the Upper East Side right across the street from Central Park. The building is a New York City landmark created by the same architects who made the amazing New York City Public Library. Inside the museum is a mixture of fine art and decorative art. The likes of Gustav Klimt, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Franz Marc grace the gallery walls. The museum is also home to Café Sabarsky which is largely considered one of the best restaurants in the city.
#5 THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY:
What can I say about the Museum of Natural History? I’ve been here more times than I can count and have loved it just as much each and every time. This may be one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations but it is certainly worth the crowds (though if you show up before noon the crowds are much thinner). Most people associate it with the largest dinosaur fossil collection in the world, but it is so much more than that! It is the history of thousands of animals, the evolution of man, our solar system, our galaxies and earth’s many civilizations. There is no limit to what you can learn here. Though I’ve categorized the AMNH with the 9 art museums that fill out this list it deserves a category all its own as it is a little odd to compare art museums along with natural history of science museums. It is in itself the world’s top museum for natural history.
#4 THE FRICK:
The Frick Museum is an homage to the old masters. It is housed in one New York City’s few remaining gilded age mansions so it would an experience to walk through even without the art. The former owner Henry Frick was an avid art collector and had one of the world’s best collections of European masterpieces. After his death, his estate and collection were made public. His collection of hundreds of works from the likes of Bellini and Goya is just too beautiful to not be available to the masses. This museum is absolutely gorgeous and jaw-dropping (especially for art lovers).
#3 THE MET :
What can I say about the MET? It was hard not to make this my number one choice but I decided the top spots should be reserved for museums that are focused on one particular type of art rather than a museum that encompasses a number of genres and time periods. With that said, The MET is my number 3 choice but is still in many way the best museum in the city (possibly the whole world). Any and everything you can imagine is here. From Egyptian mummies to Jackson Pollock there is something to be enjoyed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve been here more times than I can count and still haven’t seen it all. A fun tip for art aficionados is to visit the visible storage rooms located above the American wing of the museum. There is just so much art here that this two million square foot location can’t display it all. But, these hidden storage rooms have a plethora of little-seen art. If you have an appreciation for art, The MET astonishes.
#2 THE RUBIN MUSEUM:
On 17th Street there is a little known museum called The Rubin Museum. This is one of Manhattan’s great hidden treasures. The Rubin Museum is a great destination to learn about the art and culture of Himalayan Asia. Himalayan artistic practices are incredibly unique as this is a somewhat isolated region of the world. The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room is its most stunning display. Photos are not permitted but this room alone is worth a visit to the museum. it’s hard to find words to describe it, it’s simply powerful.
#1 THE CLOISTERS:
My number one choice for top museum in New York will forever be The Cloisters. The Cloisters is a division of The Met (so, yes, technically The Met is my number choice). It houses The Met’s Medieval art collection. Medieval art has always been one of my favorites. The decadent religious iconography has always spoken to me. The Cloisters is a spot on replica of a French monastery and is even built with some original materials from the time period so “replica” isn’t even an accurate word. Nonetheless, the museum is a little slice of Europe right in New York City. With Gothic chapels, stained glass and an amazing view of he Hudson River this museum is hands-down my favorite in New York.