Discover 16 Hidden Museum Gems in New York City

Discover 16 Hidden Museum Gems in New York City

New York City is home to some of the largest and most-visited museums in the world, with the four most popular being the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. While these well-known institutions draw a combined attendance of over 15 million visitors each year, there are many lesser-known museums in New York City that celebrate their own unique brand of art and history to delight the savvy museum enthusiast. If you are looking for an enriching museum experience off the beaten path, we have uncovered some NYC “hidden gems” of culture and history, just waiting for you to explore.

The Morgan Library & Museum

Financier Pierpont Morgan’s extensive collection of creative works of all kinds by the world’s masters is contained in a collection of buildings, including the original library – the neo-classical McKim building (a National Historic Landmark). This unique museum’s expansive holdings include rare books, manuscripts, drawings, music, and more, along with an international research and cultural center. The museum has been developed into a cultural complex over the years to now boast 75,000 square feet. You will find a shop, cafe, restaurant, reading room, concert hall, and conference centers. The Morgan Library & Museum is a half mile from The Marmara Park Avenue, making it a short ten-minute walk away. 

AKC Museum of the Dog

There is no one better than the AKC to celebrate the role that dogs have played in human history. This engaging museum is less than a mile from The Marmara Park Avenue, making it a five-minute taxi ride or ten-minute walk. The exhibits combine high-tech interactive displays with fine art to tell the story of our four-legged friends. The Museum houses a 4,000-volume library and over 1,700 pieces in its collection. 

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology

The three galleries at The Museum at FIT feature elaborate and award-winning exhibitions designed to educate and entertain visitors about the historical and artistic significance of fashion, with modern, avant-garde fashion at the forefront. The museum is one of only a select few specialized fashion museums in the world and features over 50,000 articles of clothing and accessories. Its educational programs feature lectures, discussions, and guided tours. The Museum at FIT is one mile from The Marmara Park Avenue, making it a ten-minute taxi ride away. 

Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS)

Take a 10-minute taxi ride, and you will find yourself at MoRUS. This hidden gem of a museum celebrates the history of grassroots urban space activism in the East Village. Learn about how the city’s most vocal local activists transformed abandoned and neglected spaces into thriving community-use spaces and gardens. 

SPYSCAPE Spy Museum in New York

Learn about the history of spies in America. Explore exhibits and artifacts that real spies used when participating in encryption, surveillance, hacking, and covert operations. You can even test your spy skills with the interactive displays. Located two miles from The Marmara Park Avenue, it takes 20 minutes by taxi or public transit to visit. 

Museum of Chinese in America

The Museum of Chinese in America at 215 Centre Street recounts and celebrates 160 years of Chinese-American culture and people. Through its state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, presentations, collections, and cultural programs, the museum is dedicated to not only preserving and presenting the history and future of Chinese Americans but also to promoting communication and understanding between people of all cultures and nations. The museum is easily visited when staying at The Marmara Park Avenue as it is 2.5 miles away, taking 15 minutes to get there by taxi or public transit. 


Perhaps one of the most unique museum experiences in Manhattan can be had at Mmuseumm – the tiniest museum in the city. Housed in a former freight elevator, this rare space is located (literally) down an alley in Tribeca. Started by two filmmakers, the museum runs in seasons, with the self-proclaimed mission of exhibiting objects about “the world we live in.” Its popularity has led to an additional space – Mmuseumm 2, and even The Met displaying one of Mmuseumm’s former exhibitions – Sara Berman’s Closet. The Mmuseumm is fairly close to The Marmara Park Avenue at 2.5 miles away, making it simple to take a 20-minute car ride or public transit. 

New York City Fire Museum

Dedicated to collecting and preserving the rich heritage and history of fire-fighting in New York City, the New York City Fire Museum sees more than 40,000 visitors annually. Occupying a former firehouse from 1904, the museum has artifacts, equipment, and documents that chronicle New York City’s proud fire-fighting history – from the first fire brigades of Manhattan all the way through to modern fire-fighting techniques. Particularly moving is a special 9/11 memorial tribute to the firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. Children will also enjoy and learn from the museum’s simulated fire scenario. When staying at The Marmara Park Avenue, it will take you about 20 minutes to drive or take public transit to travel the three miles. 

The Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum offers a unique perspective on immigration in New York City. The story unfolds in a renovated 1863 tenement building at 97 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that formerly housed over 7,000 immigrants in its heyday. Step back in time to see first-hand what life was like for people of all nations who streamed through Manhattan’s ports in the 19th and 20th centuries to build a better life for themselves and their families. To get to The Tenement Museum from The Marmara Park Avenue, it will take 15 minutes to travel the 3.5 miles. 

The Noguchi Museum

Isamu Noguchi was a revolutionary sculptor and activist who believed in and practiced the social importance of sculpture on the worldwide stage. Along with his work as a sculptor, Noguchi designed beautiful furniture, gardens, sets, architecture, fountains, and more, becoming a well-respected and highly sought-after artist in America and around the globe. The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City celebrates the artist and his impact on the world with its exhibitions and public educational presentations and programs. You can easily visit The Noguchi Museum when staying at The Marmara Park Avenue, which is four miles away. It will take 20 minutes by car or 40 minutes on public transit. 

Museum of Moving Image

This is the perfect museum to visit for all those who love TV and film. Exhibits feature film screenings, in-person panels, and behind-the-scenes looks at some of TV and film’s most loved productions. Be sure to check out the Oscar’s snubs exhibit. You can also see how Jim Henson brought the puppets to life. Or perhaps the makeup and production of The Exorcist will entice you to visit. The museum is just over four miles from The Marmara Park Avenue. It will take you less than 30 minutes by taxi or public transit to visit. 

New York Transit Museum

Occupying an entire city block in an underground 1936 subway platform in Brooklyn is the New York Transit Museum. With over 20 vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to the early 1900s and many exhibits and collections, you’ll take a trip through the marvels of a mass transit system that shaped the communities, technologies, and history of this great city. The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts, including interactive street furniture, historical photos, signage, and train tokens. Getting to the New York Transit Museum from The Marmara Park Avenue will take about 15 minutes to travel the six miles. 

Studio Museum in Harlem

Devoted to promoting and supporting artists of African descent and works impacted by black culture, The Studio Museum in Harlem is a vibrant and exciting venue. The museum has not only many exhibits, educational programs, and performances representing local and international artists but also, through its artists-in-residence program, has propelled the careers of many notable artists of African and Latino heritage. You can get to the Studio Museum in Harlem from The Marmara Park Avenue in 3o minutes by taxi or taking public transit. 

National Jazz Museum in Harlem

Feel the beat of the music when visiting this hub of American culture and music. Located seven miles from The Marmara Park Avenue, it will take about 25 minutes to drive here. The museum hosts exhibits, educational classes, and live performances. It also holds an impressive archive of over 100 hours of recorded radio shows. 

The Met Cloisters

Head 11 miles north of The Marmara Park Avenue, and you will find a museum that has an impressive collection of over 5,000 medieval artifacts. You will see beautiful medieval European art and architecture from the Gothic and Romanesque periods. This museum is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The building housing it is a collection of French monasteries and abbeys, which is how the museum got its name. There are four cloisters, Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem, Bonnefont, and Trie, that are at the center of the museum. 

Coney Island Museum

While the Coney Island Museum is the furthest on this list at about 18 miles from The Marmara Park Avenue, it is well worth the commute. In a 40-minute taxi ride, you will be in the wonderful world of Coney Island. This unique museum celebrates the quirky history of Coney Island. Giggle your way through the vintage fun house mirrors, marvel at the sideshow posters, and watch videos of old Coney Island. Plan ahead, and you can see the weekly magic show or grab drinks at the on-site bar. 

A True Melting Pot

New York City history and culture has been created and shaped by people: immigrants, laborers, civil servants, artists, sculptors, fashion designers, curators, and even gangsters. These museums will give you a different perspective and understanding not only of New York City, but the diverse and beautiful world in which we live.

In the mood for the obscure and odd? Check out this list of “weird” museums in New York City.