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 $125 for a maximum of 35 children and 5 adults. Schools from School District 4 receive a fee waiver. 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

Reading Buildings for grades K-2.

60 minutes; Seasonal offering available September - November and April - June.
Explore the City Museum’s architectural features inside and out during this hands-on scavenger hunt. Discover the columns, pediments, lintels, and archways that comprise the style of this Colonial Revival landmark. Students will use an outline of the Museum to sketch their observations of the building’s architectural details.

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 the Activist New York exhibition, which features photographs, pamphlets, signs, and banners, to learn about abolition, women’s suffrage, immigration, civil rights, and other social issues. Participants will create a button championing a change they want to make.

NEW! 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. With the guidance of a professional photographer and the use of digital cameras provided by the Museum, students will undertake a photographic study of Central Park, exploring the park’s rich history and role as an urban sanctuary.
This program meets for 2 hours.
Sponsored by Deutsche Bank in conjunction with the exhibition Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao's New York: Assembled Realities

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 neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.

Picturing New York City History: Highlights of the Museum

60 Minute Guided Exploration for Grades 2–12

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: Mac Conner: A New York Life (opening September 2014), Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao’s New York: Assembled Realities (opening October 2014), Letters to Afar: Installation by Péter Forgács & the Klezmatics (opening October 2014), Saving Place: Fifty Years of New York City Landmarks (opening April 2015), and Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival (opening May 2015).

History Lab Programs

These programs take place in the Museum classrooms and involve hands-on activities around core themes in NYC history. Teachers may request a 20-minute addition to any program listed below. During this additional time, students will 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. Topics will include an introduction to concepts of city planning, including zoning and land use regulations that impact the makeup of our city’s neighborhoods. The group will then construct a model neighborhood that conforms to this 200-year-old plan.

Getting Around: How Transportation Shaped the City for Grades 2-5

From horse-drawn omnibuses to electric cars, transportation in New York City has undergone many changes from the 1800s to the present day. Using objects and images that vividly document these changes, students will create a pictorial timeline of the evolution of transportation in the city that shaped its physical growth as it developed into a modern metropolis.

Mannahatta: The Lenape and the Land for Grades 2-5

Students will learn about the Lenape Native Americans who called their island “Mannahatta.” 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.

Life in New Amsterdam for Grades 2-6

Visit New Amsterdam, the Dutch colony that was established as a trading post in the early 17th century. Using a 3D scale model of the Castello Plan measuring 11 x 12 feet, together with objects, maps, and images, students will learn the history behind Lower Manhattan street names, and about the daily lives of the settlers who lived and worked on those streets. The class will create a map of New Amsterdam 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 – that help us travel to, from, and among the five boroughs. Each student will then take on the role of an engineer to design and build models of these bridges.

Bronx Tales: A History of the Borough for Grades 2-6

Join us to celebrate the Bronx’s 100th birthday as a county! Learn about the rich history of the Bronx by exploring maps, photographs, sports, and music. Students will investigate this borough’s famous sites, notable residents, transportation and infrastructure, parks, art, and culture. Participants will create a map documenting their findings to showcase the history of the Bronx.

Offsite Program for Brooklyn Schools

NEW! Become an Archaeologist: Exploring 19th Century Brooklyn Through Artifacts for Grades 1-7

Touch, see, and smell history through real artifacts from the past! Participants will explore objects found in an archaeological dig on Ten Eyck Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as they learn about the development of the borough during the mid-late 19th century. By handling ceramics, embossed glass medicine bottles, grooming objects and children’s toys, and analyzing photographs and census data, students will make discoveries about daily life in Brooklyn as it developed into the nation’s third largest city.
Artifact kits were created by the New York City Department of Education Bronx Teaching American History Program. The Museum is also grateful to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for the use of these objects.

Self-guided Visits

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 $125 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 schoolprograms@mcny.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.