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New York State Museum

The NY State Museum began in 1836 when it was established as the State Geological and Natural History Survey. Over the years, it has grown into a major research and educational institution dedicated to preserving New York's rich artistic, social, historical, and environmental legacies under the leadership of the New York State Education Department.

Through historic artifacts, full-size dioramas, and challenging interactive displays, the New York State Museum showcases the history of the Empire State from prehistoric times to the present.

Permanent exhibitions include:

  • Adirondack Wilderness
  • Ancient Life of New York - A Billion Years of Earth History - Come see numerous ancient life forms from the Museum's exhaustive fossil collection, many are unfamiliar to the casual visitor. The youngest specimens date back 100 million years, when dinosaurs were in their heyday, the oldest are over a billion years old. New York State has the oldest animal fossils in the eastern United States. In this exhibition, visitors will see billion-year-old blue-green bacteria, fossilized tree stumps and spiders from Gilboa, trilobites, and armored fish - just to name a few.
  • Birds of New York - New York is home to a wide variety of unique birds. See over 170 species of New York birds displayed in their environmental settings.
  • Black Capital: Harlem in the 20s - This celebrated American community is portrayed in this exhibition regarding the rich and diverse culture of Harlem in the 1920s. Harlem became a center of struggle for civil and economic equality and flourishing culture and art and forever altered the encounters of black and white New Yorkers.
  • The Cohoes Mastodont - Thousands of years ago herds of Mastodonts wandered what is now New York. Today the mastodont is an icon of the State Museum. Excavated in 1866, the conserved and reassembled Cohoes mastodont is currently on exhibition in the museum's main Lobby with an in-depth interactive station with interviews with leading scientists studying this magnificent specimen.
  • Fire Engine Hall - Come and visit many examples of fire apparatus of all times from the 18th, 19th and 20th century all with a history of service in New York. Each apparatus is unique in function and form. This gallery is a long time favorite to museum visitors.
  • New York Metropolis - This history of New York City and its environs is traced as the natural harbor transforms into a bustling port, open spaces into canyons of skyscrapers and a wilderness into a word city.
  • Minerals of New York - This spectacular exhibit located within Adirondack Wilderness Hall showcases a fraction of the State Museum's enormous mineral collection. Specimens on view represent over 150 years of private mineral collecting and from the public from the state's mines, quarries, road construction and outcrops.
  • Native Peoples of New York - Explore New York's cultural history and natural landscapes from the last Ice Age 12, 000 years ago to present day ethnology. Lifelike dioramas, scale models, artifacts, and a life size longhouse take the visitor through New York's changing cultures and populations over time. New computer stations bring the latest museum research, vast collections and new information to each area.
  • The World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery, Response - The World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery, Response tells the history of the World Trade Center, the September 11 attacks, the rescue efforts, the evidence recovery operation at the Fresh Kills landfill, and the public response to the September 11th events. The exhibition includes many objects, images, videos, and interactive stations documenting this tragic chapter in New York and America's history, from the State Museum's comprehensive collection.
  • Discovery Place - Discover Our World! Discovery Place, a hands-on learning center for kids. Children from pre-school to eighth grade will enjoy this special area of the State Museum set aside just for them. There are no "Do Not Touch" signs in this part of the Museum where kids learn by doing. Enjoy everything from books to computers and microscopes to mastodonts. Kids can design and build things in the Discovery Place. They can even generate electricity! Pedal a machine and see how the energy you generate powers lights, sirens and a fan. Look at slides through a microscope. Put together a giant puzzle of a mastodont skeleton. Play computer games that give you a new perspective on how things work. See the Museum's popular bug exhibition, which is now a part of the Discovery Place. The Discovery Place features something for visitors of all ages. Parents will delight in discovering alongside their children. Together they can flop down on the comfortable furniture for a story, examine bugs through magnifying lenses or play an old-fashioned game of checkers. The Discovery Place in the New York State Museum means more fun for the entire family!

Visiting the NY State Museum

The NYS Museum is free. Donations are accepted at the door. The Carousel is free. Donations are accepted

Open daily from 9:30am to 5:00 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission is free (suggested donation of $2/person or $5/family)

Museum Cafe
The Museum Cafe is a great place to stop for a break while you're touring our exhibits or for lunch anytime. Located on the fourth floor, above the exhibit halls, the Cafe is open 7 days a week. Monday - Friday, 7 AM - 3 PM and on Weekends, 11 AM - 3 PM.

The Museum Shop
The Museum Shop is a delightful place to shop for gifts or souvenirs. The Museum Shop is open 7 days a week, 9:30 AM - 5 PM. (518) 449-7860

Discovery Place
Hours: Open Daily (Weekdays, Weekends, Holidays) 10:00 - 4:30

Specifics on visiting the New York State Museum were correct at time of publication. We would suggest that you confirm dates and times prior to your visit.
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