Like we’ve said before, NYC is a hub for art, history and culture. But does the idea of visiting the Met, MoMa, or the American Museum of Natural History bore you? Not everyone is into art or history, and that’s okay. New York City is filled to the brim with amazingly weird treasures – enough to fill several quirky museums.
Whatever your interests are, there’s bound to be an institution in NYC that will fascinate you. Here are some of the best, most unique museums the city has to offer.
Mmuseumm takes seemingly every day or boring objects and presents them in interesting ways. For instance, one collection features screenshots of various text messages, most feature normal conversations. But when you realize the exhibit’s name is “The Last Message Received” – meaning that these are the last text messages sent by people before they died – the screenshots take a whole new meaning. Another collection showcases random objects such as a rock and a taco bell wrapper, but these are actually all items that were mistaken as explosives and required bomb squads.
Other current collects include “Embalming Accessories,” “Personal Objects of Immigration,” and “Nothing.”
Also known as “MoSex,” a play on “MoMa,” this popular museum is all about – you guessed it – sex. Exhibits vary from fun and silly, like “Jump for Joy,” the bouncy castle of breasts, to educational, such as “The Sex Lives of Animals,” to artistic, like “Night Fever: New York Disco 1977–1979, The Bill Bernstein Photographs.”
Needless to say, this museum is not for prudes!
This museum is perfect for those fascinated with money and its history in this country. Located in the old Bank of New York on the famous Wall Street, this museum features a collection of US currency throughout history, an interactive terminal on famous bank robbers, a US national debt clock, and much more. There’s a lot to learn about the dollar here!
Calling all foodies! MOFAD, or the Museum of Food and Drink, is probably the only museum in the city where you can actually eat the exhibits. Not yet a full museum, the MOFAD lab in Brooklyn is a work in progress, but luckily for all of us, you can participate as they work on new exhibit concepts. Past exhibits include “BOOM! The Puffing Gun and the Rise of Cereal” and “Flavor: Making It and Faking It.” Tickets to their current exhibit, “Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant,” are $14 for adults and include a fortune cookie and a tasting of the food. Yum!
This museum is dedicated to the history of immigration in NYC and America. It is located in an actual tenement apartment building on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, where thousands of immigrants have lived in sometimes-brutal conditions.
Later this year, a brand new exhibit will open in a new building, where you can “hear the stories of former resident Bella Epstein, whose parents survived the Holocaust; Jose Velez, whose seamstress mother left Puerto Rico for new opportunities; and the Wong sisters, whose mother sewed in the Chinatown garment shops.” The only way to visit the Tenement Museum is with a guided tour, and in today’s political climate, its message is especially powerful.
This Manhattan institute is dedicated to Harry Houdini’s art of magic. It displays artifacts from his life, including an actual coffin he escaped from (it had been nailed shut!) in 1907, along with other pieces from his famous escapes. The exhibition is part of Fantasma Magic, where you can purchase kits to perform your own magic, and the museum offers magic classes.
You may even see a famous magician there…or maybe you’ll become one after visiting!
The city’s transit system is often the bane of a New Yorker’s existence, but after visiting this institution, you may come to appreciate it a lot more. The New York Transit Museum is all about the history of NYC’s trains, subways, buses, and more. It features real restored subway cars and buses from as early as 1907, which kids will love!
Those who liked the New York Transit Museum will most likely love the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, which takes place on an actual aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid, from World War II. The ship is docked in the Hudson River, too!
You’ll learn all about different parts of US history, like America’s space program and the Vietnam War. Also on display are various real aircraft, such as the record-breaking Concorde airplane and the NASA prototype space shuttle Enterprise. The museum also has a 4D Intrepid simulator and a supersonic jet simulator – the latter goes upside down, so it’s for the most daring of visitors only!
This could be considered THE strangest museum in New York – or maybe in the world? Torah Animal World is located in a rabbi’s apartment in Brooklyn and features dozens of taxidermy animals (yes, real taxidermy!). All of the featured animals were mentioned in the Old Testament. Strange, but educational!
While these are all fantastic attractions and each have unique appeal, New York has a lot to see. Ship out on a Circle Line sightseeing cruise featuring New York's best scenery.