Explore the drama of social activism in New York City from the 17th century right up to the present.

In a town renowned for its in-your-face persona, citizens of the city have banded together on issues as diverse as historic preservation, civil rights, wages, sexual orientation, and religious freedom. Using artifacts, photographs, audio and visual presentations, as well as interactive components that seek to tell the entire story of activism in the five boroughs, Activist New York presents the passions and conflicts that underlie the city's history of agitation.

New York Activism Today

Help us tell the story of today's activists! Contribute your images of New Yorkers who are currently involved in our city, its communities, and the larger world, whether through volunteering, organizing, lobbying, petitioning, protesting, making art, or otherwise taking action or speaking out. Upload your images at blog.activistnewyork.mcny.org

The Puffin Foundation

Activist New York is the inaugural exhibition in The Puffin Foundation Gallery, which is dedicated to the ways in which ordinary New Yorkers have exercised their power to shape the city's and the nation's future.

Puffin Foundation logo

Educator Programs

Free Educator Lecture: Music and Activism: New York's Folk Music Revival of the 1950s and 60s
Thursday, March 26 from 5:00 - 6:30 pm
Join Dr. Stephen Petrus in examining the connection between folk music and activism, and the strategies used to advance the causes of the southern freedom struggle and pacifism.

Free Educator Lecture: New York's Earth Day 1970, and the Birth of the Environmental Movement
Thursday, April 16 from 5:00 - 6:30 pm
Join activism curator Dr. Sarah Seidman in exploring how this event created a new generation of activists, whose stories and approaches are instructive in considering the local and global environmental challenges of today.

Free Conference: 3rd Annual Teaching Social Activism in the Classroom Conference: Empowering Teachers and Learners
Saturday, May 2
Join us in this full-day conference, which will highlight the various tools and techniques used by teachers to engage their students in the history and practice of social change.

  • Buy Tickets

    Admission to the Museum of the City of New York includes all exhibitions currently on view. The Museum is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

    Buy Tickets


    The Puffin Foundation Gallery
    Second Floor