New York Museum Update – April 2022

One year ago I took a look at the state of museums in mid-pandemic New York. At that point, 106 of the museums I track in my database were open in some capacity. Now I’m back (it’s been a while) with a look at New York museums post-pandemic (hopefully).

One year later, the situation pandemic-wise and museum-wise has improved significantly: As of April 2022, 160 museums are open in New York City. That’s 80% of the museums I’m currently tracking.

Museums open pie chart

The Bad News

Twenty-four New York museums post-pandemic remain closed due to COVID. They’ve still got websites and sound like they’ll reopen, eventually. This list includes major national historic sites like Hamilton Grange and The General Grant National Memorial (aka Grant’s Tomb), which presumably will come back. But it’s starting to seem unlikely that smaller institutions that closed due to COVID and haven’t reopened will return.

Another ten museums are currently closed for non-pandemic reasons — construction, between exhibitions, etc.

Three museums have permanently shut down: New York School of Interior Design Gallery; Newhouse Center of Contemporary Art; and New York City Police Museum all seem defunct. Based on my reviews, losing them is not exactly a huge blow to the cultural fabric of the City. However, I did like the Snug Harbor building that housed the Newhouse Center. Hopefully they’ll find a new use for the space.

The Good News

On the other hand, three museums closed since before the pandemic have re-opened. The Hispanic Society (review pending) is back, albeit in a tiny part of its still-under-renovation space. I finally made it to a show at the American Academy of Arts and Letters (review also pending). And the Museum of Food and Drink has moved to the Africa Center in Manhattan. I’m excited to see its new space.

I’ve updated my museum database, showing which museums are open as of April 2022. 

As always in these complicated times, do not take my word for whether a museum is open or not. Please check before you go. While many places have relaxed requirements around buying tickets in advance, museum opening hours and the requirements for masks or proof of vaccination remain highly variable.

NY Museum Update – April 2021

It has been a while. But as things start to look (cautiously) up again, it feels like a good moment to end my Museum Project’s long hiatus, assess where things are, and hopefully point toward an optimistic future for museums.

To start, I took a quantitative look at where the New York museum world stands as of thirteen months after everything hastily shut down. 

The news isn’t great, but it could definitely be worse.

The Numbers, April 2021

  • 106 museums, or 53.5% of all the museums in New York, are currently open.
  • 7 museums are temporarily closed, generally not COVID-related.
  • 2 museums are closed and seeking new spaces. I’m treating these as “permanently closed” though hopefully they’ll be back.
  • 1 museum has permanently closed for non-COVID reasons: The Metropolitan Museum of Art has ended its Met:Breuer experiment.
  • However the Met’s loss is the Frick’s gain, as the Frick Madison counts as a new (albeit temporary) museum.
  • 1 museum, Art in General, has permanently closed due to COVID.
  • That leaves 81 museums, or 40.9%, closed due to the pandemic but, at least theoretically, planning to open again as things improve.
  • One museum, the Brooklyn Historical Society, has reorganized, merging with the Brooklyn Public Library to become the Center for Brooklyn History. I’ll be curious to see what it’s like when it reopens.

For those who like pie charts, here’s what the numbers look like:

Pie chart depicting New York museums

Even museums that are open are very different experiences than they were a year ago. The vast majority of New York institutions today require advance reservations or ticket purchases, usually for specific entry times. It’s a challenging moment to just drop into a museum on a whim. Very definitely visit a museum’s website or social media before you attempt to visit the place itself. Still, it’s nice that even some smaller, quirkier gems (welcome back, City Reliquary and Nicholas Roerich Museum) have survived. And we will hopefully see more spaces reopen their doors in the coming weeks and months.

To view a list of all the open museums, visit my database page.