Top 5 Quirky Museums in New York
December 9, 2013

The Big Apple is home to thousands of cultural attractions, from world class galleries and museums to concert halls and exhibitions. Among New York’s many well-known institutions like the Natural History Museum and MOMA, there are several which can only be described as ‘quirky’ or unusual. Let’s take a closer look at five unique museum experiences in New York.

Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum

A museum designed by, and featuring the works of, Japanese sculptor and artist Isamu Noguchi. Located in Long Island City, the museum opened in 1985 and features a beautiful indoor garden space and permanent exhibitions inside a converted warehouse. There are ten galleries housing architectural works, sculptures and furniture collections. On the ground floor is the centrepiece garden, which features over 150 sculptures, some of which remain unfinished following the artist’s death in 1988.

Intrepid Museum

What could be more fun for adventurous types than visiting an aircraft carrier? The USS Intrepid Museum is devoted to air, sea and space exhibitions, and features unique attractions such as an original Concorde plane, an interactive space shuttle exhibit and the Growler, the only US missile submarine which is publicly accessible. If you’re planning ahead – and it’s worth it to beat the queues – a range of Intrepid museum tickets can be purchased at discount rates online or on site.

Alice Austen House Museum

Found on Staten Island, this is a quirky former Victorian cottage home that has been converted into a museum depicting turn of the 20th Century life in America. From a restored Victorian garden featuring quince and mulberry to photographic exhibitions, this is a tiny but memorable slice of the US as it was a century ago.

El Museo del Barrio

Founded in the 1980s, El Museo del Barrio is the only New York museum devoted to contemporary Puerto Rican, Latin American and Caribbean Art. Housed in what resembles an apartment block, the museum holds hundreds of pieces of art together with a range of accompanying books and literature.

Cooper-Hewitt (National Design Museum)

The Cooper-Hewitt is an unusual museum which displays household objects reworked into artistic and design pieces. From furniture and computers to smaller household items, this is a celebration of design ingenuity and artistic inspiration, and is well worth a look. It resides on 5th Avenue, along the so-called ‘Museum Mile’.

So dig beneath the surface next time you’re taking a bit of the Big Apple: with so much diversity on offer alongside the more famous galleries and museums, no visitor to New York should be left disappointed!

Images by Jim Linwood and H.L.I.T, used under Creative Comms license