When people think of New York City museums, minds will immediately jump to spaces like The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The American Museum of Natural History. But (unsurprisingly) New York is home to hundreds of smaller and lesser known museums and historical monuments that are just as enriching. While it’s probably impossible to visit every single smaller museum in the city, there are some small museums that you would be remiss not to visit at least once. These are a few of those phenomenal, smaller places:

 

Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)

melissa ko museum of math

The National Museum of Mathematics is a great venue for families. It’s educational in an extraordinarily accessible way. Their focus on patterns and structures make math fun for anyone (including those who hate math), and the museum’s set up makes it easy for the entire family to be engaged.

MoMath has a constant rotation of events and exhibits, so it’s absolutely worth multiple visits.

(I highly recommend trying out the bike with the square wheels if that exhibit is still available when you go.)

 

The Tenement Museum

melissa ko tenement museum

This is one of the more popular small museums in New York, because it’s constantly mentioned in publications. There’s a good reason for its continued popularity: The Tenement Museum is one of the best places in NYC to learn about its rich immigration history. The museum itself is housed in old tenement housing, and features actors that dress up in era-specific costumes to walk visitors through the space. A great perk? The Tenement Museum also offers walking tours of the neighborhood, so you can tour the museum, and then have a guided tour of the LES.

 

The Hamilton Grange National Memorial

 

 The Hamilton Grange National Memorial melissa koWith the recent popularity of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton”, a visit to this museum could not be more timely. Founding father, Alexander Hamilton, built a home in northern Manhattan (Harlem) in an area that is now referred to as Hamilton Heights. His actual home has been preserved and relocated twice, and was turned into a museum.

The Hamilton Grange National Memorial allows visitors to walk the same hallways and enter the same rooms that Hamilton, his family, and innumerable famed American politicians did back in the early 1800s.

 

New York Transit Museum

Image via Marcin Wichary

Image via Marcin Wichary

The New York Transit Museum is run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and is another great museum for families. I don’t think our childlike fascination with trains ever really disappears, and this museum brings all of those “first train ride” memories right back. The NY Transit Museum is home to fully restored vintage train cars from decades past, and has both permanent and rotating exhibit options. They have more than just trains as well; some of their permanent collections include above ground transportation options and exhibits on the construction involved in subway creation/maintenance. This a must-visit for anyone with children (and any adult who wants to learn more about the labyrinth of transportation options we have in NYC).