Nights at the Museums in NYC This Winter

By Alison Durkee

New York has some of the greatest museums in the world, and their offerings don’t always end once the sun goes down. Have a fun night out or attend an enlightening talk at these upcoming evening museum events in NYC.

In addition to the regular offerings at their K2 Friday Nights, including food and special exhibition access, the Rubin Museum will also have a full slate of talks and screenings this month. Find some inner peace with a screening of Walk With Me on December 20, a documentary on Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch (above). Film lovers can also delve into the sounds of Björk’s Dancer in the Dark as part of the museum’s Cabaret Cinema: Soundtrack series on December 8. The museum is putting a particular focus on sound and music this month, as visitors can explore the operatic sound of M. Butterfly at an event with playwright David Henry Hwang on December 8, or even improve their hearing at an upcoming “ear yoga” workshop on December 13. Those hoping to just enjoy some music, meanwhile, can take in the musical stylings of Raga Cubana and Brooklyn Raga Massive on December 29.

Other museums around the city will also offer their own artistic events this winter. Sculptor, photographer and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy will make his way to the Museum of Jewish Heritage to discuss his work on December 12, while artist Hank Willis Thomas will be on hand at the Museum of Folk Art on December 13 for a Critical Walkthrough on his series of works transforming prison uniforms into handmade quilts. For a look at an earlier artist, fans of early 20th century artist Amadeo Modigliani can explore the artist’s work and the subject of cultural appropriation at the Jewish Museum on December 14. Over at the Guggenheim Museum, the museum will interrogate how its own architecture works in tandem with artists, curators, and audiences at an event on December 19.

Those more interested in the sciences should make their way to the American Museum of Natural History this winter for an exciting selection of evening events. Astronomy lovers can check out the museum’s Astronomy Live series, which will continue this winter with sessions that look ahead to 2018’s astronomical calendar and explore the information and images that have been gathered on recent NASA missions (January 30). The cosmos will also be the focus of an event on December 11, which will demystify black holes using creative thought experiments led by Steven Gubser and Frans Pretorius. On February 1, the museum’s world-famous dinosaur displays will be open after hours at Dinos After Dark, an evening event that features talks, demonstrations, drinks, and special access to the dinosaur halls.

Image by Jon Wallen

Next door at the New-York Historical Society, those looking to learn more about the world of politics can get into the nuances of the First Amendment on college campuses on December 11, or heed a warning from Abraham Lincoln that rings true today at an event on December 12. New Yorkers can also engage in politics by exploring the current “state and stakes” of freedom and expression at What’s Wrong With Rights? at the New Museum on December 14, or consider how to participate in politics through food at Feeding the Resistance, a conversation between author Julia Turshen and food scholar Dr. Jessica Harris at the Museum of Food and Drink on December 13. To take a break from American politics and society and learn more about the rest of the world, learn Why Yemen Matters at an event at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on December 11, or spend that evening with the Asia Society and Museum for an event on China’s digital economy.

The holiday season is also in full swing right now in the city, and New York’s museums are getting into the seasonal spirit. If you have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head this holiday season, learn how to make the seasonal treat for yourself at a 19th century cooking workshop at the Mount Vernon Hotel and Museum on December 12. Those who’d rather just celebrate the season with some food, drink, art – and an immersive snow globe – meanwhile, can head out to Queens for MoMA PS1’s Artist Holiday Party on December 15.

Other museums will be marking the holidays with special performance offerings. The Merchant’s House Museum is currently presenting its annual one-man performance of A Christmas Carol through December 31, which evokes author Charles Dickens’ own performance of his iconic tale in New York in 1867. The Guggenheim Museum will also present a holiday classic this month, as the museum brings back their annual family-friendly performance of Peter and the Wolf (December 8-10) starring fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. The Guggenheim will additionally offer a holiday concert on December 17 and 18 in the spot’s iconic rotunda. A few blocks down Fifth Avenue, the Met will offer their own selection of holiday concerts and performances this December, including a performance of The Little Match Girl; musical selections from the Byzantine Empire in the museum’s Medieval Sculpture Hall; a capella music from the Lorelei Ensemble and Baroque holiday music and dance.

Remember that many city museums 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), the Morgan Library & Museum (Friday nights) and the Asia Society (Friday nights). Other museums will also be continuing their ongoing special evening offerings this winter, 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, offering an easy way to enjoy these museums after the sun goes down.

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