Nights at the Museums in NYC

By Alison Durkee

It’s summer in New York City, when the weather is warm, the sun sets later, and the city’s museums break out special offerings. Spend your summer nights out with some culture at these upcoming museum evenings.

On June 20, museums throughout Lower Manhattan will open their doors for Night at the Museums, an evening of special programming and completely free admission at 15 museums and cultural sites around the neighborhood. Participating museums include the National September 11 Memorial Museum, the Museum of Finance, Fraunces Tavern Museum, South Street Seaport Museum, and Federal Hall National Memorial–and their close proximity to each other means attendees can make several stops throughout the evening.

Of course, many museums throughout the city offer free admission one evening each week or month, including MoMA (Friday nights), the Museum of the Moving Image (Friday nights), the Neue Galerie (first Friday of each month), and the Museum of Arts and Design (Thursday nights). The Asia Society also offers free admission on Friday nights, and visitors on Friday, June 30 will also be able to attend the opening of the new exhibition Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in the Diaspora.

Image Nicholas Ruiz/Flickr © 2013 Scott Rudd

Many museums will be continuing their ongoing special evening offerings this summer, including the Rubin Museum of Art’s K2 Friday Nights, MetFridays at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Frick Collection’s First Fridays. These Friday events boast music, special exhibition admission, drinks, and more. The Guggenheim Museum will also continue their Art After Dark series on July 7, which will include a private view of their current exhibitions, along with drinks and music.

Over in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Museum‘s Target First Saturdays series will continue on July 1 with a Revolution-themed evening, featuring political printmaking, a Wikipedia editing session, and music from Tamara Renee, Billy Dean Thomas, and DJ Reborn. The Museum of Food and Drink will host MOFAD @ Night on June 30, an open house event inviting attendees to check out the exhibition Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurantand, of course, enjoy some food and drinks.

Those looking specifically for musical performances this summer will also find plenty of choice at the city’s museums. The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Gardens will offer Summer Garden Concerts on June 20 and 27, while the Morgan Library & Museum will continue their concert series with upcoming events featuring the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. Over at MoMA, the museum’s main midtown location will offer two concert series in their outdoor Sculpture Garden: Summer Thursdays, which features performances by Arooj Aftab, Buscabulla, The Kominas, and more; and Summergarden: New Music for New York, which will include jazz concerts and performances by Juilliard musicians. In Queens, MoMA PS1 will host Warm Up, a weekly Saturday concert series featuring experimental offerings by established artists.

Beyond the parties and concerts, plenty of museums will also be giving visitors the chance to learn something new or gain a new perspective through talks and events. The New-York Historical Society will offer a special summer series of free events marking the World War I centennial, which includes film screenings, scavenger hunts, and talks on World War I fashion (July 21) and African-Americans in the military (August 4). History buffs looking for a window into the past can also learn about the Tibetan Book of the Dead at the Rubin Museum of Art (June 28), get a new perspective on writer Franz Kafka (June 29), or learn about Lower Manhattan’s Revolutionary War history on an Independence Eve (give or take) walking tour with the Fraunces Tavern Museum (June 30).

Filipa Cesar/The Embassy/MoMA

Art lovers can make their way over to MoMA, who will offer special evening discussions with artists Filipa César (June 26) and Cecilia Vicuña (June 28). Those who’d rather gain a more culinary appreciation instead can head to the Museum of Food and Drink for events centered on Peruvian pisco (June 22), rums of the world (June 29), the impact of US immigration policy on food (July 20), and the wok in America (July 18); or hear from famed Indian chef Vikas Khanna at an event at Asia Society on June 22

New York moves fast. Don’t miss a thing. Sign up for Thought Gallery’s weekly Curriculum, the best of smart NYC delivered right to your inbox.