Activist New York


Black Lives Matter protesters with their hands in the air in a sign of surrender and the “hands up don’t shoot” slogan

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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, New Yorkers have banded together on issues as diverse as 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 story of activism in the five boroughs past and present, Activist New York presents the passions and conflicts that underlie the city's history of agitation.

Photo by Caleb-Michael Files

Activist New York online!

Continue the Activist New York experience online with additional original contentmaterials for teachers, and images of activism in the city today taken by New Yorkers like you. Contribute your own images to our activism gallery by using the hashtag #ActivistNY on your Instagram and Twitter.





Activist New York and its associated programs are made possible by The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

Logo for The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

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.

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