Activist New York
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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.
Activist New York online!
Continue the Activist New York experience online with additional original content, materials 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.
Celebrating ten years of Activist New York at the Museum of the City of New York
Over a decade ago, Perry Rosenstein approached the Museum of the City of New York with a unique vision for a designated gallery on activism. The child of immigrants, Perry was a former organizer, veteran, and business owner. He had also mobilized against racism and fascism, and supported artists, journalists, and the environment as Founder and President of the Puffin Foundation. This lifelong activism and philanthropy planted the seeds for Activist New York, which, with the support of the Puffin Foundation, opened in May 2012 as an evolving exhibition with 14 rotating modules exploring a range of activist stories in New York City—both past and present. Since its opening, the exhibition has also provided invaluable content for the Museum’s educational and public programming while serving thousands of students, educators, and learners of all ages. Take a look at some of the highlights from these past ten years as we explore the far-reaching impact of this exhibition.
Image credits, in order of appearance: Stuyvesant Students Against the War in Vietnam, 1967, Museum of the City of New York, gift of Michael D. Stallman, 2017.20.60 | Lower Manhattan and NY Stock Exchange, 1932 From Nation’s Market Place (1932), Courtesy Prelinger Archives, The Internet Archiv | Installation view courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Hiram Maristany. X-Ray Truck II. 1970. Courtesy of the Photographer | Andrew Hinderaker | Andrew Hinderaker | Courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Brad Farwell | Daviston Jeffers | Andrew Hinderaker | Daviston Jeffers | Courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Susanna Kim | Courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Daviston Jeffers | Courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Courtesy Museum of the City of New York | Orlando Fernandez. In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, l t[o] r Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee. August 7, 1963. World Telegram & Sun. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-ppmsca-35538 | Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya. Raise Your Voice. 2022. Museum of the City of New York, photograph by Brad Farwell | Brad Farwell | West Side Action Pin. 1980s. Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Mrs. Mary M. Cope, 1997. 97.102.13, 97.102.16. | Photographer unknown. Strike pickets. February 5, 1910. Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-ggbain-04505.
Activist New York and its associated programs are made possible by 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.