Behind The Scenes

Category Archives: Exhibitions

How To Choose 101 Objects That Represent New York

 Sam Roberts took on a lot when he decided to whittle down the essence of New York to 101 objects. How could a city with hundreds of years of history, millions of residents, and countless cultural contributions be defined in such a way? We spoke with the author about his inspiration, his process, and what [...]

What New York Slang Did We Get From The Dutch?

Today is the anniversary of the colony of New Amsterdam officially becoming New York, when the Dutch ceded control to the British. But Dutch influence on New York, and on America, is longstanding–Dutch values of tolerance and freedom of religion are things Americans hold dear (in 1597 The Netherlands established “no one shall be persecuted or [...]

Anna May Wong: Chinese-American Star

The first thing to remember about movie star Anna May Wong is that she was an American. She was born Wong Liu Tsong in 1905 in Los Angeles, with Cantonese-American family that had lived in America since at least 1855. Her father owned a laundry shop, and as the film industry began to move west, she [...]

What Objects Define New York?

How do you define a city? Is it its buildings, its people, its history? In the upcoming exhibition A Brief History of New York: Selections from A History of New York in 101 Objects, the New-York Historical Society attempts to make sense of the city’s past through its objects. So, what objects define us? Due to [...]

What Are Your Madeline Memories?

At the New-York Historical Society, we mount exhibitions that directly connect American history and art to you, our visitors. This summer, we will present Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the beloved schoolgirl and the iconic illustration and writing of her creator. The story of Madeline‘s author Ludwig Bemelmans mirrors that [...]

The Hats of Spring

Finally, it’s warm and sunny enough to be able to enjoy the outdoors, which for many women means an excuse to don their best hats. Here’s a look at some of our favorite headwear represented in the New-York Historical society collections.     Men have always had fashionable hats too, like this on on Esteban [...]

Ellis Island’s Busiest Day

On April 17, 1907, Ellis Island had its busiest day ever, processing 11,747 individuals who just arrived to America. An average day had them processing about 5,000, so this must have overloaded them! According to the Ellis Island Foundation, “During this historic month [April 1907] of American immigration, the Port of New York received 197 ships [...]

Quilting: Not Just For Women

Quilting, and many other domestic crafts, has long been considered the realm of women (and sometimes was dismissed because of that). But quilting is a serious art, and it’s not just for women. Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War, now on view at the New-York Historical Society, features this quilt made [...]

Let’s Pretend It’s Spring in New York

It is still so cold in New York. We had a Nor’easter Bomb yesterday and now it’s still cold and dreary, so let’s fantasize about the warmth and sun and color that comes in spring. Technically that’s supposed to be right now, but we’ll just have to dream for another week or so. The above [...]

Find Audubon’s Masterpieces in Central Park!

On March 21, Audubon’s Aviary:Parts Unknown will open at the New-York Historical Society, featuring over 100 of Audubon’s watercolors for the Birds of America. Some of these birds will seem exotic to North Americans, but did you know that many of them can be found in the city’s own backyard: Central Park? Some birds are [...]