About the Modernization and Expansion Project

In 1929 Mayor James Walker laid the Museum’s cornerstone and launched the construction of the Museum of the City of New York’s landmark Colonial Revival building, which was made possible by gifts from a broad swath of New Yorkers. The next step took 77 years to make, but on August 2, 2006, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg broke ground for the Museum’s first Modernization and Expansion Project, a three-phase, $95-million effort to secure the Museum’s future.

The Museum’s Fifth Avenue building had been left largely unaltered since its completion in 1932, leaving the institution out of step with evolving standards in museum practice and increasingly unable to meet the needs of its constituencies. In light of its responsibility as a steward of the city’s rich cultural heritage, the Museum engaged the highly regarded firm Ennead Architects to design a bold renovation project to modernize and upgrade our entire facility for the first time in the institution’s history. The construction was planned in phases to allow the Museum to remain open for the duration of the project and the third and final phase was completed in 2015.

Learn more about the completion of our renovation from the Wall Street Journal.

Accomplishments of the project include:

  • The construction of the soaring, 3,000-square-foot James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller Gallery in an addition to the rear of the landmark building.
  • The construction of Ronay Menschel Hall, a fully equipped facility featuring an ample stage, a green room, cutting-edge AV booth, a private entrance and gathering space, and built-in, state of the art audio, video, and online capabilities.
  • A new state-of-the-art curatorial center for Museum collections, including high-density, climate-controlled storage for the Museum’s photography, costumes, prints, drawings, and the theater collections.
  • A redesigned and relocated Museum Shop and restoration of historic elements of the Museum’s magnificent Colonial Revival building, including the grand Nathalie Pierrepont Comfort staircase, the Marble Court, and the Bruno A. Quinson Library/Conference Room.
  • A restored and updated lobby with enhanced visitor amenities.
  • The complete renovation and climate control of the Museum’s entire South Wing, including galleries on three floors of the landmark building.
  • The renovation of the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Children’s Center, including three new technologically enhanced classrooms with Internet access.
  • The renovation of the Museum’s Fifth Avenue and South Terraces.
  • The construction of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery (home to the ongoing exhibition Gilded New York.)
  • The construction of a cutting-edge digital lab where Museum collections are photographed at high resolution and uploaded to a new Collections Portal.
  • The construction of new offices for Museum staff.

The Modernization and Expansion Project is a public-private partnership. To date, the City of New York, the Museum’s Board of Trustees, and many generous donors have contributed $97 million to the Modernization and Expansion Project. The Museum welcomes the participation of the community in this extraordinary effort. A variety of naming opportunities are available to recognize donor generosity.

The renovation has brought the Museum into full compliance with all city building codes and meets regulations established by the American Association of Museums and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The renovated spaces are energy efficient, qualifying for LEED Silver certification, the national benchmark for high-performance green buildings. (For more information on LEED, visit the U.S. Green Building Council.)


For more information, a list of available naming opportunities, or to make a gift, please contact Susan Madden, Senior Vice President for External Affairs, at 917.492.3303, or email info@mcny.org.

Capital Campaign Donors

The City Museum is most grateful for the support of these donors to our Capital Campaign.

$5,000,000 and above

James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller

$1,000,000 to $4,999,999

Charina Endowment Fund
Mr. and Mrs. William T. Comfort
Puffin Foundation
Larry and Sandy Simon
Tiffany & Co. Foundation
Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone

$500,000 to $999,999

Nancy and James Buckman
John and Jill Chalsty
Marvin and Mary Davidson
Barbara J. Fife/The Joelson Foundation
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
Margaret T. Morris Foundation
Hebe Dowling Murphy

$200,000 to $499,999

The Bank of New York Mellon
The Booth Ferris Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy H. Biggs
Jennifer and James Cacioppo/
One East Partners LP
Donna and Dermott W. Clancy/
Dermott W. Clancy Corporation
Deban and Thomas M. Flexner
George Link Jr. Foundation, Inc.
James A. Lebenthal
MBIA Foundation, Inc.
Polly and Newton P.S. Merrill
New York State Council on the Arts
Diane and Jim Quinn
Mary Ann and Bruno A. Quinson
Valerie and John W. Rowe
Debbie and Daniel Schwartz
Hon. José M. Serrano, New York State Senate
Mitchell S. and Nancy Steir
Elizabeth Farran Tozer and W. James Tozer Jr.
Heather and William Vrattos
William Randolph Hearst Foundation

$100,000 to $199,999

Louis Auchincloss
The Barker Welfare Foundation
Lois M. Collier
Todd DeGarmo/STUDIOS Architecture
Marjorie Fortgang/
M. Fabrikant & Sons, Inc.
Laura Lofaro Freeman and James Freeman
Lionel Goldfrank III
Rachel and Ara Hovnanian
James Cayne and Patricia Cayne Charitable Trust
Alexandra Lebenthal and Jay Diamond
Mary Ann and Martin J. McLaughlin
Mr. and Mrs. George Braniff Moore
Ronald Purpora/ICAP Corporates LLC

$50,000 to $99,999

Hon. Jonathan Bing, New York State Assembly
Con Edison
Vernon Evenson
Leslie V. Godridge
Lorna B. Goodman
James E. Hanley
Sylvia Hemingway
The New York Community Trust
Tracey and Ken Pontarelli
Allison Whipple Rockefeller and
Peter Clark Rockefeller
Daryl Brown Uber/
The William E. Weiss Foundation

$1,000 to $49,999

Elaine Murray Adley
Hilary M. Ballon
Toni Fillet Carney
Mr. and Mrs. Robert T. Cornell
Jan Cowles
Mr. and Mrs. Mark D’Arcy
James and Nancy Druckman
Mr. and Mrs. James L. Gammon
Bruce S. Gelb
William T. Georgis
Mark Forrest Gilbertson
Micah S. Green
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas A.P. Hamilton
Dr. and Mrs. Frederic P. Herter
Mr. and Mrs. Ian D. Highet
Jane and Michael Hoffman
The Hyde and Watson Foundation
Joseph and Michelle Jacobs
Michael B. Jeffers
Patricia Kavanagh and James Grant
Mark Kessel
Mr. and Mrs. Hans W. Kertess
Stanford G. and Sandra T. Ladner
Jody and Giulio Martini
Martin Mertz
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Miller
Gurudatta and Margaret Nadkarni
The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Deidre O’Byrne
Jane B. and Ralph A. O’Connell
Mr. and Mrs. Anthony M. O’Connor
Olmstead Properties
Richard S. Pechter
Pershing LLC
Andy and Libbet Regan
Fred and Suzanne Rheinstein
Joseph and Randi Sack
Gerald Tankersley
Peter C. Trent
The Volcker Family Foundation, Inc.