Nights at the Museums in NYC

By Alison Durkee

New York City’s museums may be best known as a great place to spend a day, but there’s still often plenty to do once the sun goes down. Inject some museum-going into your NYC nightlife this winter with these upcoming talks, parties, and events.

Image: Joe Schulz/Flickr

Several museums throughout the city offer ongoing weekend evening events, which let visitors enjoy the museum’s collections after hours along with music, special exhibition admission, drinks, and more. These events will continue this winter 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 will continue their Target First Saturdays series February 2 with a free event themed to current African American art exhibition “Soul of a Nation,” which will explore art and history in the age of Black Power through performances, tours, art workshops, and more. MoMA PS1 will offer a special yearly event on February 1, as the museum celebrates the Lunar New Year with their annual party. The special event will include DJs, live performances, cocktails, snacks, interactive installations, and after-hours exhibition viewing.

Photo: Vince Smith/Flickr

The city’s science museums, meanwhile, will give visitors the chance to stick around until the sun comes up with special overnight sleepovers. The American Museum of Natural History will let children ages 6-13 have a special “night at the museum” on February 1, while grownups get their own opportunity to stay overnight on February 15. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will also offer families and groups the chance to sleep onboard the USS Intrepid during one of their overnights, which include flashlight tours of the flight deck, unlimited simulator rides, planetarium shows, and more. Upcoming overnights will take place on January 26, February 9, and February 23.

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).

Tony Roberts (C) and cast taking a bow at the end of the the Broadway production of the musical “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.”

Other upcoming events will give museumgoers a glimpse into the city’s performing arts scene with special talks and performances. The Guggenheim Museum will continue their Works and Process series this winter, which spotlight upcoming performances through conversations with the creators and performances. Look forward to upcoming events centered on Steppenwolf Theatre’s new play Downstate, ahead of a run at the National Theatre in London (January 28); the new opera Blue at the Glimmerglass Festival (February 11); Taylor Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, which will feature actors Nathan Lane and Andrea Martin (February 18); and a special event celebrating the legacy of choreographer Jerome Robbins with performances and conversations with the cast of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway (February 24 and 25). MoMA will also spotlight the performing arts this winter, as upcoming “Modern Mondays” events feature choreographer Ralph Lemon (January 28) and performance artists Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens (February 25).

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), Dust jacket design for The Hobbit [April 1937], pencil, black ink, watercolor, gouache. Bodleian Libraries, MS. Tolkien Drawings 32. © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937.

Iconic works of art and fiction will be the focus of several events this winter, as MoMA marks the current Broadway run of To Kill a Mockingbird with a screening of the book’s film adaptation and discussion of its themes on January 28. A January 31 event at the Morgan Library and Museum will turn its attention to J.R.R. Tolkein and how the author’s writings and art have influenced each other, as well as how artists have been inspired by the writer’s iconic stories. Other events will turn their focus to history; the New-York Historical Society will grapple with how the Civil War is being memorialized in the 21st century on January 29, while a January 30 event on images of Auschwitz will consider how photographs shape our conception of history. Also on January 29, the Museum of the City of New York will explore a more recent era, as they discuss Times Square in the 1970s and 80s and how the seedy neighborhood is now being recreated through HBO’s The Deuce.

Science lovers can celebrate Valentine’s Day early on February 6, as the American Museum of Natural History spotlights the science of love with neuroscientist Bianca J. Marlin. The AMNH will turn its attention to the planet named for the goddess of love during a lecture on the lost terrain of Venus on February 4. On February 19, get a more “spirited” scientific take as the museum offers an event on the natural history of beer, complete with tastings.

Those wanting to learn more about what they consume can spend some evenings at the Museum of Food and Drink this winter, whose upcoming events include spotlights on Peruvian Pisco (February 1) and Palestinian cuisine (February 6). A January 31 panel will mark the release of feminist publication GRLSQUASH’s upcoming food-centric issue, followed by food and a special artist market. The Museum of Chinese in America will celebrate the cuisine of Hong Kong at a literary event considering the territory’s future January 31, which will include tastings of dumplings, spring rolls, and mini samosas. To discover foods of the past, meanwhile, head to the Fraunces Tavern for their Winter Tavern Night January 27, which will look at the history of early American cookery and offer special 18th-century food tastings.

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