Museum Highlights: 2019

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

As we look back on 2019, these 12 highlights exemplified our stellar year. We selected them from our roster of exhibitions, thought-provoking programs, collections, and more—all inspired by the city we love. Whether you're new to the Museum or a long-time friend, we're excited to share these moments with you.

1. The Museum Goes Coast to Coast

A woman sits at a mirror in costume, putting on make-up for a performance. A man stands against the wall with a camera.
Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine. Rosemary Williams, Show Girl, 1949. Used with permission of SK Film Archives/Museum of the City of New York

Our blockbuster exhibition Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs, closed in January but had some notable guests. Actor Alec Baldwin was onsite to discuss Kubrick with co-curators Donald Albrecht and Sean Corcoran. This exhibition is now on view at the Skirball Center in L.A.

2. RBG Speaks to a Sold-Out Crowd

Also in January, PBS aired Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Conversation. Part of The David Berg Distinguished Speakers Series, Ginsburg discussed growing up in Brooklyn, her love of music, and a quarter-century on the nation’s highest bench with NPR legal correspondent Nina Totenberg.

3. A Bronx (Zoo) Tale

After a year-long digitization project, we now have greater access to the thousands of images that make up our LOOK Collection Archive. Along the way, we've come upon hundreds of stories and discovered New Yorkers like Helen Martini, the Bronx Zoo's first female zookeeper, who specialized in big cats. 

4. F.A.O. Schwarz Center

A group of people stand in a circle, some with their arms raised.
2018 Teaching Social Activism Conference

The F.A.O. Schwarz Education Center has served more than 50,000 students, teachers, and families this year. Our annual Teaching Social Activism Conference had its largest attendance yet. Three hundred seventy-four educators, youth, and activists came together to explore the history and practice of social change inspired by Activist New York.

5. Rock 'n Roll, Breakups, and Attitude

As part of the ongoing series What Makes New York New York? we asked notable New Yorkers what makes the city special. This summer Molly Bernard and Miriam Shor of TVLand's Younger and chef Marcus Samuelsson, co-owner of Red Rooster, Harlem, told us what they love about the place they call home. 

6. Hitting it Out of the Ballpark

A man and woman sit in front of signage for the exhibition "In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend."
Still from Facebook Live with Susan Johnson and Bill Rhoden

The Museum was honored to present In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend, which unveiled a lesser-known side of this iconic figure. Sports journalist and author Bill Rhoden shared his perspectives during an impromptu walkthrough with Susan Johnson, Director of Publications and Senior Curatorial Associate.

7. Exhibitions and Programs Working in Tandem

Three Blue Men (from Blue Man Group) dance in the Museum Lobby with visitors during Uptown Bounce in August, 2019.
Filip Wolak

Our exhibitions inspire and inform our programming. This summer, our Moonlight and Movies series celebrated City of Workers, City of Struggle with films like 9 to 5 and On the Waterfront that highlighted working-class issues, while Blue Man Group performed at Uptown Bounce to coincide with Blue Man Group: Ready...Go!, an exhibition dedicated to their history.

8. Highlighting New York's Native Communities 

A woman holds her phone to take an image of the exhibition "Urban Indian: Native New York Now."
Daviston Jeffers, @davefotogram

Urban Indian: Native New York Now is "raising the volume on New York City’s Native American voices," states AM New York. The Museum worked closely with community leaders to prioritize Native self-representation in an exhibition that reflects the varied meanings of being both “urban” and “Indian” in New York today.

9. Stories That Resonate

Our story on the myths behind the Statue of Liberty has sparked the interest of thousands of readers. Written in 2014, it continues to show the influence and relevance of our collections. Models of the statue can be found in New York at Its Core alongside the famous poem by Emma Lazarus.

10. Dynamic Programs, Big Names

Anthony Alofsin, left, and Patti Smith, right, engage in conversation during a Museum program.
Courtesy of Asya Gorovits

From the Vibe of the Village Festival to trivia nights, tasting experiences to a conversation with cartoonist Roz Chast, our Public Programs offered a wide range of insightful experiences. Our exceptional roster of speakers and performers included such greats as David Amram, Patti Smith, and Colson Whitehead.

11. Fashion Forward

Can a waistcoat show attitude? Our Getting Dressed series featured gems from our Costumes and Textiles Collection and told the stories of how these objects were made and worn. Weird, wild, or wonderful, this hand-embroidered piece was a playful jab at its owner, The New Yorker critic Alexander Woollcott.

12. Celebrating NYC History

A student stands in front of her History Day project display.
Max Campbell

Next March, the Museum celebrates a milestone and will host the 30th Annual New York City History Day—an event that engages students in grades 6–12 in the discovery and interpretation of historical topics. This past June, two students who debuted their projects at the Museum went on to win awards at the national competition. 

We couldn't have done it without you! Thank you for making this year great. We have some amazing things in store for 2020, and we hope to see you soon!

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