Programs are available Monday through Friday at 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. School Tours are 90 minutes long and culminate in a hands-on activity. The cost is $175 for a maximum of 35 children and 5 adults. The Museum of the City of New York is a New York City Department of Education vendor (vendor number MUS015).
School programs support the following Common Core Standards:
SL.4.3. – have the opportunity to explain events or concepts in a historical text based on information in the text
SL.5.1 – engage in collaborative discussions with the educator and with each other
SL.5.1c – participate in discussions by asking and answering specific content related questions
SL.5.2. – summarize information presented visually
Jacob A. Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half For Grades 2-12
Learn about Riis as a pioneering newspaper reporter and social reformer and his influence at the turn of the 20th century while exploring the exhibition. During the tour, students will analyze his photographs and prose, and write a short editorial making connections between Riis’s photographs and concurrent housing legislation.
Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival For Grades 2-12
Learn about musicians such as Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Odetta who wrote and performed folk songs that became the anthems of the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and ‘60s. Students will then write song lyrics drawing from musical traditions featured in the exhibition.
Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy For Grades 4 - 12
Trace over a century of affordable housing and the ways reformers, policy makers, and activists have fought to transform their city. Participants will complete a scavenger hunt in the exhibition to create a visual timeline documenting the diversity of New York City’s subsidized housing and its long history of creating below-market housing for its residents.
Saving Place: Fifty Years of New York City Landmarks For Grades 2 - 12
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Landmarks Preservation Law that empowered the city to designate and protect individual buildings and historic districts that have architectural, historical, or cultural significance. Students will learn about important sites throughout the five boroughs such as Grand Central, Wyckoff House, and Weeksville, and will create a flyer advocating to landmark a site in their neighborhood.
Taking a Stand: History of Social Activism in New York For Grades 2 - 12
Discover how New Yorkers have fought for freedom and equality over the past 350 years. Students will explore photographs, artifacts, and more in the Activist New York exhibition and then create a button championing a change they want to make.
Capturing the City Through the Camera For Grades 5 - 8
Participants will examine the works of renowned New York City photographers such as Berenice Abbott, Jacob Riis, Samuel Gottscho, Bruce Davidson, and Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao—all of whom have captured city life on camera. Students will use of digital cameras provided by the Museum to undertake a photographic study of Central Park exploring the park’s rich history and role as an urban sanctuary.
Picturing New York City History: Highlights of the Museum
Learn about New York City’s rich history through the Museum’s current exhibitions. According to grade level, students will sketch or write their reflections during the interactive tour. Teachers should specify if they wish to include a viewing of Timescapes, the 22-minute multimedia documentary on the history of New York City.
Upcoming special exhibitions include: Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks, Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy (opening September 2015), Jacob A. Riis: Revealing New York’s “Other Half” (opening October 2015), The Great Race: New York’s Marathon (opening October 2015), New York’s Yiddish Theater: An American Story (opening March 2016).
History Lab Programs
These programs take place in the Museum classrooms and involve hands-on activities around core themes in New York City history. Teachers may request a 20-minute addition to any program listed below for students to be led through a Museum exhibition on view.
The Grid: Urban Planning in New York City For Grades K - 5
Participants will learn about the origins and evolution of Manhattan’s street grid system and how it changed over time. The group will then construct a model neighborhood that conforms to this 200-year-old plan using contemporary zoning and land use regulations.
Getting Around: How Transportation Shaped the City For Grades 1 - 5
From horse-drawn omnibuses to electric cars, transportation in New York City has undergone many changes from the 1800s to the present day. Students will create a pictorial timeline of the evolution of transportation in the city after analyzing vivid images and objects from the collection.
Mannahatta: The Lenape and the Land For Grades 1 - 5
Drawing on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Mannahatta Project, which meticulously reconstructed the natural landscape of Manhattan in 1609, the students will use maps, images, and Native American objects to explore the relationship between the Lenape people and their surrounding habitat. Participants will create a storyboard tracing how the Lenape used the island’s natural resources in their daily lives.
Mannahatta is offered in partnership with the National Museum of the American Indian
Life in New Amsterdam For Grades 2 - 6
Using a 3D scale model of the Castello Plan measuring 11 x 12 feet, together with objects, maps, and images, students will learn about the daily lives of the settlers who lived and worked in New Amsterdam. The class will complete a map of the 17th century trading town to represent their findings.
New York City Bridges for Grades 2-6
New York City is an archipelago—a cluster of islands—that is connected by bridges and tunnels. Students will explore the many types of bridges in the city – beam, truss, steel arch, swing, and suspension – and design and build models of them
Bronx Tales: A History of the Borough For Grades 3 - 6
Discover this borough’s famous sites, notable residents, transportation and infrastructure, parks, art and culture. Participants will then create a map documenting their findings to showcase the rich history of the Bronx.
This program is offered in collaboration with the Office of the Bronx Borough President.
Who Is New York? Mapping Immigration Then and Now For Grades 4 - 8
New York became the quintessential immigrant city in the early 20th century, but today more immigrants live here than at any time in the city's history. Following a viewing of Timescapes, a 22-minute multimedia documentary on the city’s history, students will discuss immigration today. The group will use maps and census data provided by the Department of City Planning to chart migration patterns by connecting countries of origin on a world map to distinctively ethnic neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.
Teachers may choose to bring their students to the Museum on their own, without being led by a Museum educator. When making a reservation for a self-guided visit, teachers will be asked to decide which exhibitions they are interested in visiting and if they wish to view Timescapes, an engrossing 22-minute multimedia experience, that traces the growth of New York City from a settlement of a few hundred Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans to its present status as one of the world’s great cities. Visits typically take 60 to 90 minutes and groups larger than 35 must be separated into smaller groups, each escorted by an adult chaperone.
Preparing for Your Visit
School tours are content-rich, hands-on experiences that support the New York State social studies standards and align with the Common Core Standards. Students explore primary sources through inquiry-based discussion and activities facilitated by museum educators. All tours can be modified for groups with special needs.
School tours are 90 minutes long and include a hands-on component. The cost is $175 for a maximum of 35 children and 5 adults. Schools from School District 4 receive a fee waiver.
School tours are offered Monday through Friday at 10:00 am, 12:30 pm, or during afterschool hours from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the visit. Payment must be received at least one week prior to the visit. Tours will be shortened for late arrivals. Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before the scheduled visit.
One chaperone must accompany every group of 10 students; a maximum of five chaperones may accompany each class.
Request a Reservation
Please note that submitting a request for a visit is not a confirmation of your reservation.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an automated response asking for you to complete your request.
- We require scheduling at least two weeks in advance.
- Payment is required at least one week in advance.
- Requests will processed in the order received.
- You will receive a confirmation letter by email once the visit is scheduled.
- Your email address will be added to our e-newsletter.