Engage, inform, and activate—this is at the heart of all school programs at the Museum of the City of New York! For over a decade, the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center has facilitated programs for hundreds of thousands of children and adults to teach them about our city: the challenges and solutions we’ve encountered, the unique contemporary issues we face as New Yorkers, and the complexity of how the decisions we make today impact our city’s future.
Times: Programs are available Monday through Friday beginning at 10:00 am.
Cost: Programs are $175 for a maximum of 35 children and 5 adults.
Programs: Gallery programs provide 60-minute interactive tours in the Museum’s exhibitions. History Labs are 75-minute programs that provide content-rich, hands-on experiences in the Museum’s classroom spaces that are specially designed for elementary school students.
Booking a program: The Museum of the City of New York is a New York City Department of Education vendor (vendor number MUS015). These interactive programs are available all day, but must be scheduled by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
New! New York at its Core Gallery Programs
Occupying the entire first floor in three multi-media galleries – Port City, 1609-1898, World City, 1898-2012, and Future City Lab – the New York at Its Core exhibition is a shaped by four themes: money, density, diversity, and creativity. Together, they provide a lens for examining the character of the city, and its evolution into the modern metropolis we know today. Through hundreds of sources and state-of-the-art technology, this first of its kind exhibition captures the human energy that drove New York to become a global capital like no other and a subject of fascination the world over.
Each 60 minute program will take place in one of the following three galleries, with the option to book two back-to-back programs. Bring your group of 35 students or fewer to visit New York at Its Core by emailing email@example.com. Each program costs $175; fees are waived for schools in zip code 10029.
Gallery 1: Port City, 1609-1898
60-minute program for grades K - 12
Who are the people that shaped our city from its beginning? Investigate the challenges New Yorkers encountered as the city rapidly transitioned from a trading post to a bustling five-borough metropolis. Students will debate the decisions that city leaders made to meet the demands created by a growing population. By analyzing artifacts and images, students will also discover the diverse New Yorkers who transformed the city through the creation of gridded streets, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Gallery 2: World City, 1898-2012
60-minute program for grades K - 12
How do you define your community in a dense city like New York? At the turn of the century, New York emerged as a global city with an expansive subway system and developing skyline that became symbols of modern life. At the same time, the city had become defined by its distinct neighborhoods and communities, each with their own respective histories. Students will learn about individuals and civic groups who fought to improve their own communities, and the city as a whole, in moments of crisis.
Gallery 3: Future City Lab
60-minute program for grades K - 12
What do you want New York City to look like in the future? This lab presents students with the opportunity to imagine alternative futures for the city by exploring its diversity and issues related to housing, transportation, work, and the environment. Through interactive games, data visualizations, and maps, students will grapple with present-day challenges and learn about the different occupations of New Yorkers who continue to shape the city in the 21st century and beyond.
Taking a Stand: History of Social Activism in New York
60-minute program 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. Visit Activist New York for materials relating to the Activist New York exhibition.
Picturing New York City History: Highlights of the Museum
60-minute program for grades 2 – 12
Learn about New York City’s rich history through the Museum’s special exhibitions. According to grade level, students will sketch or write their reflections during the interactive tour.
Special exhibitions include:
- Muslim in New York (through July 30, 2017)
- The City and the Young Imagination: Art from Studio in a School (through May 21, 2017)
- Mastering the Metropolis: New York and Zoning, 1916-2016 (through April 23, 2017)
- A City Seen: Todd Webb's Postwar New York, 1945-1960 (opens April 20, 2017)
- AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism (opens May 23, 2017)
- Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York (opens June 14, 2017)
- New York Silver, Then & Now (opens June 28, 2017)
History Lab Programs in the Museum's Classrooms
These programs take place in the Museum classrooms and involve hands-on activities around core themes in New York City history.
The Grid: Urban Planning in New York City
75 minutes 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.
Can be adapted for Pre-K: 45 – 60 minutes.
Mannahatta: The Lenape and the Land
75 minutes for grades 1-5
Offered in partnership with the National Museum of the American Indian
Drawing on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Mannahatta Project, which meticulously reconstructed the natural landscape of Manhattan in 1609, students will use maps, images, and Native American objects to explore the relationship between the Lenape people and their surrounding habitat. Participants will then create a storyboard tracing how the Lenape used the island’s natural resources in their daily lives.
Life in New Amsterdam
75 minutes for grades 2-6
Using a 3D scale model of the Castello Plan that measures 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.
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 offered Monday through Friday beginning at 10:00 am. The cost is $175 for a maximum of 35 children and 5 adults.
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.