People visit museums and spend hours staring at art in the same, rigid position. Instead of engaging with art, visitors passively observe. Fortunately, there are many museums around New York City with interactive exhibits, designed to provoke viewers and go beyond the traditional museum experience.
1.) The Cooper Hewitt
Here, visitors can see exceptional examples of design and 3D art, including 18th century wooden models of palace staircases and photo-luminescent sculptures. The Cooper Hewitt invites patrons to explore, design and take art home with them. With an interactive pen, museum-goers can digitally collect pieces of art, draw and modify them on interactive tables, and use a special code to view their gallery online when they leave.
2 E. 91st St. Open weekends and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. $7 for students.
2.) Museum of the Moving Image
Situated in Astoria, this museum immerses visitors in the world of motion pictures, displaying not only old movie projectors and filming equipment, but costumes and studio merchandise as well. The museum lets visitors become the director, allowing them to create their own stop-motion animations and voice-overs, while giving them the unique experience of filmmaking and editing.
36-01 35 Ave. at 37th St., Astoria. Open Wednesdays and Thursdays 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. $11 for students.
3.) Holographic Studios
Located in a former blacksmith’s forge, Holographic Studios takes visitors beyond 2D art and gives them the unique opportunity to view holograms up close. Tours of this museum allow visitors to see real holograms being made, taking them behind the scenes of one of the coolest processes in the art world, and engaging them in the creation of some spectacular pieces.
240 E. 26th St. Open Monday through Friday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $30.
4.) The City Reliquary
One of NYC’s hidden gems, the City Reliquary resembles an antique shop more than it does a museum. However, the museum, which houses random historical and cultural artifacts, gives visitors a unique look at what makes New York special. From antique Brooklyn seltzer bottles to an actual piece of the Flatiron building, the City Reliquary fosters a new type of engagement in which visitors are invited to closely observe the unique tangible history of New York.
370 Metropolitan Ave. Open Thursday through Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. $4 for students.
5.) The Tenement Museum
Take a step back in time and live as tenements did in the turn of the
century. Visitors can choose from many tours that focus on sweatshops, recreated living spaces and bakeries where they can sample authentic food. This museum provides visitors with a window into the lives of these multi-family resident dwellers, and is an immersive experience that turns observers into parts of history.
103 Orchard St. Friday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. $20 for students.
Email Lily Dolin at [email protected]