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New York Museums

  • The Alternative Museum
    (212/966-4444) Offers groundbreaking exhibitions on sociopolitical issues.

  • American Museum of Natural History
    W. 79th St. at Central Park West (212/769-5100) Exhibits group artifacts from the ancient world, but the buzz is all about the museum’s new planetarium, the Rose Center for Earth and Space. This stunning state-of-the-art space theater also features two new exhibition halls, the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth and the Hall of the Universe.

  • Brooklyn Museum of Art
    200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn (718/638-5000) One of the nation’s largest art institutions, the Brooklyn Museum of Art is worth the trip across the East River. Its collections include ancient Egyptian art and one of the largest American watercolor collections, as well as Central African art and decorative arts.

  • Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
    2 E. 91st St. (212/849-8300) At the opposite end of the spectrum of made objects, the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of design and decorative art, considered America’s finest, makes its home at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

  • El Museo del Barrio
    1230 Fifth Ave. at 104th St. (212/831-7272) From its humble origins in 1969 in a classroom in East Harlem, El Museo del Barrio has become a leading repository for the diverse cultural heritage of Latin America. Especially noteworthy is the collection of 330 handcarved wooden saints. The museum also holds 3,000 works on paper, 500 paintings by leading artists of the last century, and collections of Latin American film, video and photography.

  • Guggenheim Museum
    SoHo (212/423-3500) Lively, hip and funky, SoHo is home to the offbeat and avant-garde, including this engaging museum. The new Guggenheim Museum SoHo spotlights a masterful collection of modern art and exhibits.

  • The Jewish Museum
    1109 Fifth Ave. (212/423-3200) Housed on the Upper East Side in a French Gothic chateau that once belonged to financier Felix M. Warburg, the museum boasts the nation’s largest collection of Judaica. The centerpiece of the Museum is “Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey,” a vibrant core exhibition on the Jewish experience, showcasing a significant portion of the museum’s collection of 27,000 works of art, antiquities and ceremonial objects. Exhibitions range from archeology to contemporary art. The Lower East Side

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd St. (212/535-7710) The challenge here is that there’s just so much — over two million artworks and artifacts in 1.4 million square feet of extensions and annexes. So — the key principle is, don’t try to see everything. Instead, study the free floor-plan brochure or buy the museum handbook, then check with the staff at the information desk about daily guided or tape-recorded tours, gallery talks and other special activities to help you make an informed selection of delights. Open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

  • Museum for African Art
    593 Broadway, in SoHo (212/966-1313) Architect Maya Lin, renowned for her design of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., has created a fluid interior space of curved walls and subtle color gradations. The display of 400 objects is called the first ever to examine handcrafted African objects over a broad stylistic range from various regions across the continent.

  • Museum of American Folk Art
    Columbus Ave. and 66th St. (212) 595-9533 The best of American folk art from the 18th century to the present is featured at this intimate museum.

  • Museum of Modern Art (aka MoMA)
    11 W. 53rd St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues (212/708-9480) The external modesty of MoMA’s International Style architecture, coupled with Cesar Pelli’s remarkably restrained new condominium tower built over the museum in 1984, in no way suggests the tumult of innovative concepts and expressions that characterize the more than 100,000 works collected here. While many of them, by Picasso, Rousseau, Monet, Matisse, van Gogh, Miró, Klee and Mondrian, will be familiar to visitors, groundbreaking creations by Rothko, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Pollock, Reinhardt and Diebenkorn still resonate with startling originality. Open 10:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Friday.

  • New Museum of Contemporary Art
    (212/219-1222) For the ultimate in cutting-edge culture, the New Museum of Contemporary Art brings exhibits by emerging artists, such as Pierre et Gilles.

  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St. (212/423-3500) While the main spiral gallery features changing exhibitions of contemporary art, the more intimate Thannhauser galleries in the tower offer a wealth of well-known originals by such impressionists and cubists as Monet, van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, Degas and Picasso, in addition to the more measured works of Mondrian, Léger and Klee. It’s always magic to revisit old favorites here — the delicate and often humorous Calder mobiles, the lonely aloofness of Giacometti’s sticklike figures, the tumult of van Gogh’s Arles works and Picasso’s immortal Woman Ironing. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday through Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

  • The Whitney Museum of American Art
    945 Madison Ave. (212/570-3676) This museum is easily worth a visit. When in Midtown, don’t miss the sculpture garden and gallery at the satellite Whitney Museum at Philip Morris (120 Park Ave.; 917/663-2453).
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