Nights at the Museums in NYC This Fall

By Alison Durkee

New York City is packed with things to do once the sun goes downincluding at the city’s world-class museums. Whether you’re looking to check out exhibitions, party, or learn something new, here’s how to spend your fall evenings enjoying the city’s museums.

Nasca artist. Poncho, 100–200. South Coast, Peru. Camelid fiber, 747/16 x 279/16 in. (189.1 x 70 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Alfred W. Jenkins Fund, 34.1579.

Several museums throughout the city offer ongoing weekend evening events, which give visitors the chance to enjoy the museum’s collections after hours, along with music, special exhibition admission, drinks, and more. These events continue this fall with the Rubin Museum of Art’s K2 Friday Nights, MetFridays at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Frick Collection’s First Fridays. The Brooklyn Museum also continues their Target First Saturdays series on October 6 with an event themed to ¡Pa’lante!, featuring Latin American-centric performances, workshops, talks, and other activities.

In addition to these special events, many museums also 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), the Museum of Arts and Design (Thursday nights), and Asia Society (Friday nights).

U.S. Naval Hospital. Corpsmen in cap and gown ready to attend patients, Mare Island, California 12/10/1918. Image courtesy of Navy Medicine via Flickr Creative Commons.

Science fans can have plenty of fun this fall, as the American Museum of Natural History offers a special Sleepover for Grown-Ups to spend a night at the museum September 21. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will also offer special Astro Café events on September 28, October 19, and November 16, where adults ages 21 and up can enjoy drinks and learn about cutting-edge scientific developments. Families can also head to Intrepid for Family Astronomy Nights on September 21 and October 20, which feature science talks, stargazing and more. The Museum of the City of New York will explore the deadliest disease outbreak in human history, the 1918 global influenza pandemic, and how it connects to the present day at a talk September 27. For a broader look at the universe, head to the American Museum of Natural History for upcoming talks on the 2020 rover mission to Mars (September 25); “spooky space” and the universe’s frightening phenomena (October 30); mapping the Milky Way (October 3); and a talk with astronaut Scott Kelly (November 5).

New Yorkers hoping to explore their own little corner of the universe can do so with plenty of NYC-centric events. Post-primaries, discover a golden age of New York politics in the 1920s at a Museum of the City of New York talk September 17. The museum will also dive into issues facing the city today, including the current housing crisis (October 3) and youth activism in the city (November 8). The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden will look back at New York’s role in cinema history at a September 21 talk and screening, which will explore how the city and its denizens were depicted during film’s earliest days.

Film buffs can also head to the Museum of the Moving Image this fall, where upcoming evening programs include a screening of the 1992 film Swoon with director Tom Kalin (September 14), a talk centered on the Black Image and Popular Culture (September 28), and a special puppetry workshop using a live-feed video monitor (September 21). The Museum of the City of New York will give movie fans a chance to celebrate Halloween in film noir style, as the museum offers a special Stanley Kubrick-inspired party October 26.

Performing arts fans can hear from artists directly at the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series, which continues this fall with events centered on upcoming performances by the Metropolitan Opera (October 1), Pacific Northwest Ballet (October 2-3), American Ballet Theatre (October 7-8), tap dancer Caleb Teicher (October 28), and theatre performances at New York Theatre Workshop (October 15) and St. Ann’s Warehouse (October 22). The Intrepid Museum will also offer a special panel discussion on jazz musicians and Cold War diplomacy October 17, as well as a performance by the London-based rock group Public Service Broadcasting September 20.

Seymour Weitzman (1910–65), designer, Mr. Seymour (founded 1950s), maker. Pointed-toe laced pumps, ca. 1964, suede, grosgrain ribbon. Stuart Weitzman Collection, no. 269. Photo credit: Glenn Castellano, New-York Historical Society.

Fans of the visual arts and design can also hear from artists and designers this fall, as Chinese artist Xu Bing appears at the Museum of Modern Art September 24 and architectural innovator Ronald Rael heads to the Cooper Hewitt Museum September 17. Fashion lovers can obsess over shoe collecting at a talk with designer Stuart Weitzman and philanthropist Jane Gershon Weitzman September 26.

Other evening events this fall will cater to New Yorkers with an appetite, as the city’s museums shine a spotlight on Asian cuisine. The Museum of Food and Drink will look at the “breathtaking world of fish sauce” at an event focused on the culinary staple September 27, as well as give food lovers a chance to party at their Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival September 28. On November 7, the Museum of the City of New York will explore how Chinese food is intertwined with immigrant identity at a talk with Nom Wah Tea Parlor owner Wilson Tang and Museum of Chinese in America founder Jack Tchen.


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