Engage, inform, and activate—this is at the heart of all school programs at the Museum of the City of New York! For over a decade, the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center has facilitated programs for hundreds of thousands of children and adults to teach them about our city: the challenges and solutions we’ve encountered, the unique contemporary issues we face as New Yorkers, and the complexity of how the decisions we make today impact our city’s future.
Booking a program: The Museum of the City of New York is a New York City Department of Education vendor (vendor number MUS015). These interactive programs are available all day, but must be scheduled by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Times: Programs are available Monday through Friday beginning at 10:00 am.
Cost: Programs are $175 for a maximum of 35 children and 6 adults.
With generous support from the Gray Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, public schools in zip code 10029 in East Harlem and school districts 9 and 11 in the Bronx will have their field trip fees waived.
Please note there is limited availability for this waiver. Groups using the waiver that cannot make their visit must cancel with five-day notice or they will not be able to reschedule. More than one cancellation will eliminate the use of the fee waiver for the entire school. All students will receive free family admission passes to return to the Museum.
Programs: Gallery programs provide 60-minute interactive tours in the Museum’s exhibitions. History Labs are 75-minute programs that provide content-rich, hands-on experiences in the Museum’s classrooms that are specially designed for elementary school students. Programs can be modified for groups of all needs and abilities.
New York at Its Core Field Trips
“What makes New York “New York?” The exhibition New York at Its Core traces the history of New York City and looks ahead to its future. Each 60-minute program is for grades K-12 unless otherwise noted, with the option to book two back-to-back programs:
The Making of New York: From Mannahatta to the Five-Borough City
In Port City, 1609 – 1898, students will discover and interpret original artifacts that tell New York stories about the people who shaped the city over the centuries.
Highlights include a Lenape ceremonial club, archaeological findings from New Amsterdam, a portrait of Alexander Hamilton and artifacts from the American Revolution, an ankle cuff and document certifying the freedom of a former slave, Jacob Riis's photographs, pieces of the Brooklyn Bridge, original models of the Statue of Liberty, and an immersive wall of streetscapes past and present.
Creative City: 20th Century New York
In World City, 1898 - 2012, students will discover objects revealing the creativity and resiliency of New Yorkers as they met the challenges of the 20th century through art, invention, activism, and business—making New York City globally renowned.
Highlights include the shovel that broke ground for the first subway, a model of the Empire State Building, tap shoes worn by Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a Jackie Robinson-signed baseball, Jackson Pollock’s paint can and drip painting, Civil Rights CORE protest hat, Palante Newspaper, graffiti and hip-hop ephemera, and photographs from Hurricane Sandy.
Future City Lab
Experiment, debate, and play in the Future City Lab! Students will use interactive digital games to step into the role of planner and respond to the current housing, transportation, and environmental challenges facing New Yorkers. In designing waterfront parks, streets, and apartment buildings, students will discover first-hand the trade-offs required to balance costs with community and environmental needs as they create their future visions of New York.
Additional Gallery Programs
Activist New York
60-minute program for Grades 2-12
Discover how New Yorkers have fought for freedom and equality over the past 350 years. The exhibition covers 14 episodes of activism on issues of immigration; gender equality; economic, civil, and political rights; and environmental advocacy, beginning with the struggle for religious freedom in Dutch New Netherland and culminating with the Movement for Black Lives. At the end of the program, students will create a button championing a change they would like to make.
Highlights include a short film exploring activism throughout New York’s history, a 19th-century nativist flag, leg irons worn by a fugitive slave, posters from the Civil Rights Movement, LGBTQ organizational flyers and newspapers, a gas mask worn by an environmental activist, and photographs of community organizing in the South Bronx.
For a list of episodes, objects, activists, and lesson plans, visit activistnewyork.mcny.org
Beyond Suffrage: A Century of Women in New York Politics
60-minute program for Grades 2-12
Available October 23 - July 2018
Since winning the right to vote in 1917, women have actively shaped politics in New York through elected office, working behind-the-scenes, and by agitating for change from the bottom up.
Students will learn about activists like Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, Pauli Murray, and Mabel Lee, and explore how they expanded opportunities for marginalized groups and, ultimately, all women in New York.
King in New York
60-minute program for Grades 2-12; 45-minute program for Grades K & 1
Available January – May 2018
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., explore photographs that trace the Civil Rights leader’s visits to New York City from the 1950s until his death in 1968, illuminating a dimension of King that is less often explored, such as his internationalist politics when he delivered a speech at the United Nations and spoke out against the Vietnam War at Riverside Church.
Special Exhibitions Tour: Highlights
60-minute program for Grades K-12
See more of the Museum by visiting two or three current exhibitions on topics that are distinctly New York. Tours may include:
- AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism (through October 22)
- Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York (through November 26)
- To Quench the Thirst of New Yorkers: The Croton Aqueduct at 175 (through December 31)
- Beyond Suffrage: 100 Years of Women and Politics in New York (through July 2018)
- Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York (November 2017 – April 2018)
- Mod New York: Fashion Takes a Trip (November 2017 – March 2018)
- King in New York (January 2018 – May 2018)
- New York Silver: Then and Now
- New York on Ice: Skating in the City (December 20, 2017 – March 2018)
- See all exhibtions here
History Labs in the Museum's Classrooms
History Labs are 75-minute programs that provide content-rich, hands-on experiences in the Museum’s classroom spaces that are specially designed for elementary school students.
The Grid: Urban Planning in New York City
75 minutes for grades K-5; 45-60 minutes for PreK
Participants will learn about the origins and evolution of Manhattan’s street grid system and how it changed over time. The group will construct a model neighborhood that conforms to this over-200-year-old plan using contemporary zoning and land use regulations.
Mannahatta: The Lenape and the Land
75 minutes for grades 1-5
Drawing on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Mannahatta Project, students will use maps, images, and Native American objects to explore the relationship between the Lenape and their surrounding landscape.
Life in New Amsterdam
75 minutes for grades 2-6
Using a 3D scale model of the Castello Plan that measures 11 x 12 feet, together with objects, maps, and images, students will learn about the daily lives of the people who lived and worked in 17th-century New Amsterdam.
Preparing For Your Visit
Bring the Museum into your classroom! Educator Resources and Pre- and Post-Visit Lesson Plans to extend the conversations from the field trip into the classroom are available online:
Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the visit. Tours will be shortened for late arrivals. Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before the scheduled visit. One chaperone must accompany every group of 10 students; a maximum of five chaperones may accompany each class.
School programs support the following Common Core Standards:
SL.4.3. – have the opportunity to explain events or concepts in a historical text based on information in the text
SL.5.1 – engage in collaborative discussions with the educator and with each other
SL.5.1c – participate in discussions by asking and answering specific content related questions
SL.5.2. – summarize information presented visually