The Best History Museums in New York City

New York City is both full of museums and also full of history. History lovers will easily make timeless memories on their next visit to the Big Apple because of the large selection of history museums and historical places to visit. We have put together this list of the best history museums in New York for those that admire history, love museums, and want to experience the best that New York has to offer. So, here we go!
American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
This is one of the largest museums in the world and it is made up of 28 interconnected buildings that house 45 permanent exhibition halls. There's also a planetarium and a library. The museum's collection includes more than 33 million specimens of animals, plants, minerals, fossils, rocks, and more.
180 Central Park West, Lincoln Towers, NYC, New York, 10024
Lewis Howard Latimer House Museum
This museum was once the home of the African American inventer Lewis Howard Latimer and today it is a museum that educates visitors on his work.
34-41 137th Street, Linden Hill, NYC, New York, 11354
If you're looking for more information about New York City, read A Fashion-Lovers Guide To New York City and How to Spend One Day in New York City.
Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island, which is now part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, was the primary entry point for immigrants coming to the United States from 1892 to 1954. The island consists of a park area and several buildings. The main building, which was the immigration port of entry, is now a museum which showcases the history of immigration into New York. Visitors can browse through the museum and see a variety of exhibits about the immigration experience and the history immigrants in New York and the U.S. The island can be reached as part of the ferry service that takes visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island that departs from Battery Park.
New York City, New York
Merchant's House Museum
This is the only historic house museum in the Greenwich Village, Soho, NoHo neighborhoods.
29 East 4th Street, NoHo Historic District, NYC, New York, 10003
Wave Hill
Once a private estate with a beautiful garden dating back to 1843, this home is now owned by the city and is open to the public, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour both the gardens and the house for a small admission fee. The gardens consist of a variety of flora along with a few spots with magnificent views over the river. Also on the premises is an art gallery and gift shop. An entry fee is normally charged, but it's free before noon on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
665 West 252nd Street, Riverdale, New York, New York, 10471
Weeksville Heritage Center
During the 19th century, Weeksville was one of the country's first free black communities. The community had its own schools, churches, and community associations. The Heritage Center offers tours and activities that serve to educate the public on the history and significance of this community.
1673 Bergen Street, Ocean Hill, NYC, New York, 11233
Field Station: Dinosaurs
Young children appreciate this walking tour that has animatronic dinosaurs and a number of kid friendly exhibits.
1114 New County Road, Secaucus, New Jersey, 07094
The City Reliquary
This museum focuses on the history of New York City's five boroughs.
366 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, NYC, New York, 11211
Interested in more travel advice for New York City? Check out Famous Squares and Plazas to Visit in New York City and Free Things to Do in New York City.
Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
This historic house dates back to the mid 1800's, and was built on the land which Thomas Pell purchased from the Siwanoy Native Americans in the 1700's to form the Bronx. Now the estate and its gardens are owned by the city and are open to the public. Visitors can tour the house which features a Greek-Revival style, as well as the beautiful formal-style gardens which are home to a variety of sculptures, sculpted landscapes, flower beds, and more. Events, children's activities, classes, group trips, and other festivities can be experienced here, too.
1 Orchard Beach Road, NYC, New York, 10464
Garibaldi - Meucci Memorial Museum
Located in a Gothic Revival cottage, this museum was once home to the inventor and candle maker, Antonio Meucci. Later, the Italian revolutionary and politician, Giuseppe Garibaldi lived here.
420 Tompkins Avenue, Clifton, NYC, New York, 10305
Dyckman Farmhouse Museum
Dating back to 1785, this is the oldest remaining farmhouse in Manhattan. It's located in a small park in the Inwood neighborhood.
4881 Broadway, NYC, New York, 10034
The Morgan Library & Museum
This institution began as the private library of J. Pierpont Morgan and it was donated to the city. It includes drawings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Picasso. There are three Gutenberg Bibles, and a copy of Frankenstein annotated by Mary Shelley, as well as manuscripts by Dickens, Poe, Twain, Steinbeck, and Wilde. There's also sheet music handwritten by Beethoven and Mozart.
225 Madison Ave, New York, NY, 10016
DiMenna Children's History Museum at the New York Historical Society
This museum is designed with kids in mind. There are hands-on displays that take you back in time 350 years to learn about the history of NYC. Kids are encouraged to climb and interact with the exhibits that look at the lives of historical figures. There are also family programs available including cooking classes, scavenger hunts, games, and story time.
170 Central Park West, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10024
Staten Island Museum
This museum has a new facility in Snug Harbor that offers a number of art and natural history exhibits. This is the oldest museum on Staten Island, dating back to 1881 when it was begun by 14 environmentalists.
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY, 10301
New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: The Best Science Museums in New York City and The 17 Best Children's Museums in New York City.
Historic Richmond Town
Historic Richmond Town is an authentic town and farm museum on Staten Island. It's a living history museum that's part of La Tourette Park and it brings everyday life from the 19th century into today. Many of the buildings are historical structures and the staff make up the community of a 19th century small town, each representing a different trade.
441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, NY, 10306
New York Transit Museum
New York Transit Museum
The New York Transit Museum is housed in a former subway station near Brooklyn's Borough Hall. Kids love this museum and it's small, so you can pass through it in about an hour and see the cars of a vintage subway train, or sit in the driver's seat of a city bus. The museum walks you through more than a century of transportation history in New York City.
99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY, 11201
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This world-class museum has one of the most in depth collections of art, spanning more than 5,000 years and representing cultures from around the globe. This is one of the largest museums in the world and it features a wide variety of topics. Everything from fashion to photography, and ancient times is represented. For the best price and the least crowds, visit the museum early on a weekday.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10028
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is an American military and maritime history museum. It has an impressive collection of museum ships and they also offer planetarium shows as well as Astronomy Family Nights. The museum is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street, along the Hudson River, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan.
Pier 86, W 46th St, Upper West Side, New York, NY, 10036
Tenement Museum
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum located in a historic tenement house. Tours are available and visitors will learn about the personal stories of the individuals who once resided here. There are also neighborhood walk tours that teach about the Lower East Side community and how it was evolved through the years.
103 Orchard St, New York, NY , New York, NY, 10002
The Skyscraper Museum
This museum focuses on the architecture and engineering of tall buildings. The exhibits educate visitors on the history, construction, and design of some of the city's most unique skyscrapers. There are also family programs and educational resources available.
39 Battery Pl, New York, NY, 10280
New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: The Best Art Museums in New York City and Things to Do In New York City on a Rainy Day.
Alice Austen House
Located in what was once the home of Alice Austen (1866 to 1952) this museum features about 8,000 photographs taken by this renowned photographer. The museum teaches visitors about her life's work and shows examples of her different styles of photography.
2 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY, 10305
The Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium
This unique Long Island museum combines a grand mansion, a beautiful park, and a marine and natural history museum, as well as a planetarium. In addition to shows in the planetarium, there is also a rooftop observatory viewing every Friday night.
180 Little Neck Rd, Centerport, Long Island, NY, 11721
How much does it cost?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $23 to $79. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $42. A few of the best options are below.

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If you're looking for more information about New York City, read An Art Lover's Guide to New York City and A Train Lover's Guide to New York City.
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