new york historic society

Current and upcoming exhibitions

Remote, history-based family programs for all ages


The Waldorf Astoria Lobby Clock


Meet us at the clock! The great Waldorf Astoria clock is a legendary part of New York City lore and a meeting spot for generations of New Yorkers. Originally made for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, it was crafted in London and features relief portraits of American presidents and Queen Victoria of England. For decades, the towering clock graced the Waldorf Astoria—both at its first location on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street and in the lobby of the hotel’s longtime address at Park Avenue and 50th Street. This time-keeping treasure recently underwent a meticulous restoration and is on view in the Smith Gallery during the hotel’s renovation.

4 Artworks from the Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld Collection, Scenes of New York City

Now through August 1, 2021

Discover four paintings from the Elie and Sarah Hirschfeld Collection, Scenes of New York City—the first donated works by acclaimed American artists William Merritt Chase, William James Glackens, George Luks, and John Henry Twachtman—in this special installation ahead of the full collection going on view later this year.

Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection

LAST CHANCE: Now through April 11, 2021

Featuring toy trains, figurines, and miniature models from the renowned Jerni Collection, the exhibition transports young and old alike to a bygone era. The display includes a variety of toy train stations dating from the turn of the 19th century to the WWII era, showcasing the evolving designs of American and European toymakers. Visitors are greeted by animations and fun facts about the toys on nearby screens, and kids will be delighted by a specially created bench inspired by a sleigh in New-York Historical’s collection. And explore the Jerni Collection online with Google Arts & Culture.

The Art of Architecture: Beaux-Arts Drawings from the Peter May Collection

COMING SOON: April 9, 2021 – June 13, 2021

This special installation of more than 50 drawings represents the work of architecture students and the practice of Parisian architecture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Works featured in the Salon-style installation include designs for monuments, universities, train stations, casinos, and country homes executed for student assignments, juried competitions, and public presentations. The renderings reflect the classical architectural style popularly known as Beaux Arts and practiced by European and American architects until WWII. Two examples of the Beaux-Arts tradition from the eminent New York-based architectural firm McKim, Mead & White—whose records are archived at New-York Historical—are also on display.

Bruce McCall’s New York

COMING SOON: April 23 – August 15, 2021

In Bruce McCall’s New York pterodactyls fly down Central Park West, rooftop farms reach far up into the sky, and ubiquitous orange parking tickets are part of the fall foliage spectacle. Featuring more than 40 of the artist’s zany, topical paintings, this colorful exhibition transports visitors to an often retro-futuristic New York, inviting them to ponder what the city is or could be. Canadian-born author and artist Bruce McCall, who moved to New York City in 1964, has contributed to virtually every prominent magazine in North America, including Esquire and Vanity Fair, and was a member of the original National Lampoon. For over four decades, McCall’s work has appeared regularly in the New Yorker, for which he has created more than 75 covers.

Safe/Haven: Gay Life in 1950s Cherry Grove

COMING SOON: May 14 – October 11, 2021

During weekends and summers in the pre-Stonewall era, gay men and women, including many New Yorkers, traveled to the secluded beach town of Cherry Grove on Fire Island where they found opportunities for self-expression—behavior that was both stigmatized and criminalized in the straight world. These visitors took pleasure in the costumed parties, theatrical events, and liberated atmosphere that this sanctuary provided. On view outdoors in New-York Historical’s rear courtyard, this exhibition explores the gay and lesbian community that flourished during the 1950s in Cherry Grove through some 70 enlarged photographs and additional ephemera from the unique holdings of the Cherry Grove Archives Collection.

Cover Story: Katharine Graham, CEO

COMING SOON: May 21 – October 3, 2021

Native New Yorker Katharine Meyer Graham (1917-2001) never expected to become the president, publisher, and CEO of the Washington Post, but she thrived in that position—and even helped end a war and a corrupt U.S. presidency by revealing the Pentagon Papers and Watergate to an outraged public. On display in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, this exhibition examines a transformative period in Graham’s life, as her devotion to the Post helped her grow from a self-effacing widow into an authoritative, decisive media executive. It was this new Katharine Graham whom Truman Capote honored with a spectacular Black and White masquerade ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966. Graham’s evening gown and mask, Capote’s tuxedo, and designer gowns worn by famous guests bring the “Party of the Century” to life and illustrate how Graham’s contact with new networks of power and celebrity helped consolidate her influence in journalism.

Dreaming Together: New-York Historical Society and Asia Society Museum

Now through July 25, 2021

Dreaming Together, a collaboration between the New-York Historical Society and Asia Society Museum, features more than 35 interwoven works drawn from both art collections that generate dialogue about the urban and natural environments, protest and rebellion, individuals and identities, borders and crossings. Highlights include the Canal Street diptych (1992) from Martin Wong’s Chinatown series, 98-foot hanging scrolls by Dinh Q. Lê featuring abstractions of the World Trade Center towers (2016), and a dystopic video narrative of war and destruction by Shiva Ahmadi (2014). The result is a powerful reflection on the possibilities unleashed when people, cultures, and institutions dream in tandem. Artist Tim Okamura’s 2021 painting Nurse Tracey, depicting a healthcare worker striking the familiar pose from the WWII poster, We Can Do It!, can be seen as part of the latest rotation of works in the exhibition, along with other new works.

So Ready for Laughter: Bob Hope and World War II

Now on view through September 5, 2021

Organized by the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, this special exhibition highlights the legendary performer Bob Hope and his unique role during World War II entertaining troops overseas. Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the founding of the United Service Organizations (USO), the exhibition features artifacts, films, and rare photographs to illustrate how Hope helped lift spirits both abroad and on the home front with his USO and radio shows during a dark time in American history. So Ready for Laughter explores Hope’s major USO tours and travels during World War II through some 50 artifacts, including rare and unpublished photographs of Hope and a World War II-era aircraft fragment. Throughout April, Little New-Yorkers will feature silly stories in honor of Hope.

The Gift of Laughter

on view through September 5, 2021

A companion exhibition to So Ready for Laughter: Bob Hope and World War IIThe Gift of Laughter blends fact and works of fiction to illustrate Bob Hope’s wide-ranging career as USO entertainer, television star, and Academy Award host and the many roles comedians fill. Objects on view include an honorary Oscar presented to Hope for “his contribution to the laughter of the world,” mementos from his later USO tours, and awards and memorabilia including a Friars Club Trophy. Also on display are costumes by Emmy Award-winning costume designer Donna Zakowska from the popular Amazon Prime Video series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Meet the Presidents and the Oval Office


Discover how the role of the president has evolved since George Washington. Visitors walk in the footsteps of presidents and into a recreation of the Oval Office—complete with audio excerpts of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon and a Resolute Desk replica. Complementing the Oval Office, the Meet the Presidents Gallery features historical footage, artworks, and unique artifacts like the George Washington inaugural bible that further illustrate the powers and responsibilities of the executive branch. (Please note the Oval Office installation is closed for the month of April.)

New-York Historical’s Fourth Floor


Experience the past on our fourth floor! Explore historic treasures from our permanent collection—including toys from childhoods of the past—be dazzled by 100 glowing lamps in our Gallery of Tiffany Lamps, and uncover the untold stories of women in American history through our Center for Women’s History.

Please note that while New-York Historical is open with timed-entry tickets and safety protocols in place, the DiMenna Children’s History Museum remains temporarily closed. When visiting the Museum, families can explore the installations on view with an array of digital family guides

A Brief History of the Hatfield Mccoy Feud

If you have ever gone on one of the popular ATV tours in West Virginia, then you are probably familiar with the Hatfield-McCoy trails. Aside from being an off-highway vehicle trail that is well-known to both tourists and locals, this trail system carries with it a famous story in relation to its name.

Known as a local story that turned into one of the most talked about national legends, the Hatfield-McCoy feud, also known as the Hatfield-McCoy war, is a series of vicious altercations that resulted in vengeful retaliation and several deaths.

It all dates way back to the 1800s, where two families that lived on opposite sides of the Big Sandy River existed. On the West Virginia side was the Hatfield clan, led by the successful timber merchant William “Devil Anse” Anderson Hatfield. Meanwhile, the Kentucky side of the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River was occupied by the McCoys. Their leader or patriarch, known as Randolph McCoy, was not as rich as the Hatfield head, but he did own some land and livestock.

While some people say that the feud started with the death of Asa Harmon McCoy at the end of the civil war, others believe that this was an isolated incident. Because while a Hatfield who was associated with the Logan Wildcats was blamed for this, the series of violent fights erupted due to a dispute over a hog. You might think that this is trivial, but a pig was a valuable commodity in their region, during those times. In this dispute, Randolph McCoy accused a Hatfield (Floyd) of stealing his pig. This led to a court trial where Floyd Hatfield was eventually acquitted on account of Bill Staton’s (a McCoy relative) testimonial. Years later, Bill Staton was killed in an altercation with two members of the McCoy family, both of which were acquitted on grounds of self-defense.  

After these, a series of violent clashes followed suit. One involved a whirlwind romance between a McCoy (Roseanna) and a Hatfield (Johnse). The relationship ended on a sour note, causing further anger on the McCoy side as Johnse Hatfield left Roseanna for yet another McCoy.

Finally, accounts from local historians regard the local elections dispute as one of the turning points of this great family feud.  Some family members of the McCoys and Hatfields got into a standoff which ended in the latter clan having a bounty over their heads.  This then led to the brutal New York Massacre as Hatfields killed Randolph McCoy’s wife and children in retaliation for the bounty set over their heads. Hatfields involved were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, with one of them being publicly executed.

A Visit to Cooperstown NY

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and MuseumNatural Beauty and our National Pastime!

Baseball fans you have heard the name because Cooperstown NY is home to the The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but there is so much more to this area for visitors to enjoy. Museums, breweries, farmers markets, and historical locations are all attractions just a few hours drive from NYC. These fun destinations are surrounded by nature that will inspire you to get out and get moving!

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Learn more about the game, the history, and the players all in one place with exciting exhibits, and displays that will capture baseball fans and newbies alike. Then let the action really come to life with the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum. Stand next you favorite players and see what they look like outside of their baseball cards. Maybe even take in a game at the birthplace of America’s pastime, Abner Doubleday Field.

The Fenimore Art Museum & The Farmers’ Museum

Fenimore Art Museum Court yard

If you are looking for more museum options Cooperstown is loaded with interesting stops to keep your visit filled with learning and culture. The Fenimore Art Museum is a collection of American fine and folk art, Native American art, and photography as well as visiting exhibitions. Considered one of the nation’s premier art institutions this is a must see for everyone from the views on the walls to the lovely grounds of the museum.

The Farmers' Museum

The Farmers’ Museum, New York State circa 1845. What does that look like for families in their day to day life? You can find out and even try your hand at some of these activities while visiting this living history museum. See demonstrations, learn about trade, enjoy the farmstead, the historic village, and the carousel!

Cooperstown Beverage Trail

Brewery Ommegang

Beer enthusiasts, wine sippers, and cider lovers will not want to miss these stops on your trip. Cooperstown Beverage Trail is New York State’s first official cuisine trail made up of eight stops, Bear Pond Winery, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Brewery Ommegang, the Fly Creek Cider Mill, Butternuts Beer & Ale, Rustic Ridge Winery, Cooperstown Distillery and Pail Shop Vineyards. Take tours, enjoy tastings, and take some goodies home from their shops. You can find out all the details and a map of locations here to get going on your tour.

Get Out in Nature!

Otsego Lake and Cooperstown NY

Hike, bike, or get out on the lake! There is camping, fishing, winter recreation, and so much more to show off the gorgeous countryside. Enjoy the delicious food that grows locally by visiting the farmer’s market or visiting the wide variety of eateries in Cooperstown.

For the indoor or outdoor portion of your vacation planning, Cooperstown has everything to appeal to all interests. Be sure to visit their website to get tips for your time in the area. See more on social media and get inspiration for a trip to Cooperstown. FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube