400 Years of NYC History

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    What made New York New York? Follow the story of the city’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World,” and consider its future in our changing world.

    Framed around the key themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity, New York City’s history and future come alive in this first-of-its-kind exhibition, through the stories of innovation, energy, struggle, and the vision of generations of immigrants, politicians, tycoons, dreamers, master builders, and ordinary New Yorkers.

    New York at Its Core captures the human energy that drove New York to become a city like no other, featuring the city’s “big personalities” – among them, Alexander Hamilton, Walt Whitman, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Fiorello La Guardia, Jane Jacobs, and Jay Z. The stories of lesser-known New York personalities, like Lenape chieftain Penhawitz and Lower East Side denizen Susie Rocco, also figure prominently in the exhibition, as do some of the furred and shelled residents who shaped the city’s economic and daily life – among them, the pig, the beaver, and the oyster. And the final gallery, the Future City Lab invites visitors to delve into the issues facing the city over the coming years an in immersive, hands-on space.

    Through almost 450 historic objects and images, many from the Museum’s rich collection, as well as contemporary video, photography, and interactive digital experiences, we welcome you to dive deep into the city’s past and create your own visions for its future.


    New York at its Core is made possible by:

    James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller, Pierre DeMenasce, The Thompson Family Foundation, Jerome L. Greene Foundation, Heather and Bill Vrattos, Charina Endowment Fund, National Endowment for the Humanities, Zegar Family Foundation, Tracey and Kenneth A. Pontarelli, Jill and John Chalsty, Dyson Foundation, Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Foundation, Valerie and Jack Rowe, Mary Ann and Bruno A. Quinson, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Booth Ferris Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Cynthia Foster Curry, Stephen and Cynthia Ketchum, The David Berg Foundation, The Joelson Foundation, The Hearst Foundations, Newton and Mary Merrill, Stephen and Stephanie Hessler, William and Elizabeth Kahane, James A. Lebenthal, John Strang Trust, Laura Lofaro Freeman and James L. Freeman, Robert and Carola Jain, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, Todd DeGarmo/STUDIOS Architecture, Jim and Diane Quinn, Mitchell S. Steir/Savills Studley, Netherland-America Foundation, American Express Foundation, The Barker Welfare Foundation, Con Edison, Dutch Culture USA/Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.

    Leslie and Mark Godridge, Kathy and Othon Prounis, Daryl Brown Uber/William E. Weiss Foundation, Ann and Adam Spence, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Atran Foundation, Michael Bruno, Nancy and James Druckman, Tom and Deban Flexner, Budd and Jane Goldman, Jim Hanley/Taconic Builders Inc., Sylvia Hemingway, Susan Jang and Kenneth E. Lee, Gurudatta and Margaret Nadkarni, Nixon Peabody LLP, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley DeForest Scott, Elizabeth Farran and W. James Tozer Jr., John and Barbara Vogelstein Foundation, Greater Hudson Heritage Network, New York State Council on the Arts, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker, New York City Council, EvensonBest, Daniel R. Garodnick, New York City Council, Elizabeth Graziolo, David Guin and Kym McClain, Stanford and Sandra Ladner, Lorna and Edwin Goodman, Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, Mary Ann and Martin J. McLaughlin, Museum Association of New York, New Netherland Institute, Jane B. and Ralph A. O’Connell, Constance and Arthur Rosner, Sandy and Larry Simon, Taconic Charitable Foundation, New York Council for the Humanities, Benjamin J. Kallos, New York City Council, Longhill Charitable Foundation, Vidda Foundation, Kathleen Brooks Family Foundation, Whitney and Peter Donhauser, Ferris Foundation, Jeffrey Tabak, The Trafelet Foundation, Mark F. Gilbertson, Three Anonymous Donors.

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