The Society is an educational and research institution that houses both the city’s oldest museum and a celebrated, independent research library. It was founded in 1804, and its collections cover 400 years of American history with a focus on New York City and State. The Henry Luce III Center displays 40,000 objects from the Society’s collection.
The permanent collection is divided into the Luce Center, paintings, drawings and works on paper, sculptures, decorative arts, and material culture (items such as tools). Highlights from these holdings include George Washington’s Valley Forge camp bed, the world’s largest collection of Tiffany lamps, Hudson River School landscape paintings, 500 watercolors by John James Audubon, and Gutzon Borglum sculpture studies for Mount Rushmore.
The Society regularly puts on special exhibitions. They have included objects relating to Abraham Lincoln in New York, the abolitionist John Brown, 18th century New York society portraits, and Luman Reed’s European paintings.
New York Historical Society Information
- Public Transportation: Good (readily accessible via the B and C subway at 81st Street and buses M10 at 77th Street and M79 at 81st Street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Open to the general public Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.–5:45 p.m.
- Admission: $10, seniors (65+) and educators $7, students $6; members, researchers, and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult free
- Free Day: Friday 6–8 p.m.
- Audio Tour: Podcasts only
- Membership: Individual membership ($55) includes unlimited free admission to the galleries and library (bypassing admission lines), a calendar of events, reduced admission to all public programs, 10% discount at the store and for online and café purchases, 20% discount on books at public book signings, invitations to member-only events, and a personalized membership card and membership in the Empire State Museums Reciprocal Program, which includes discount admission to many historical societies and museums nationwide. A discounted student/senior/educator membership ($40) is also available among other varied membership options.