Best museum exhibitions in NYC

Find listings and reviews for the best New York museum shows, as chosen by Time Out's critics.

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A New York museum trip shouldn't be saved for a rainy day: With specialties ranging from modern art to mathematics, sex to outer space, there a New York museum for every aesthetic and intellectual curiosity. To help you find the exact stimulation you seek, our critics have rounded up the very best museum exhibitions in New York City right now.

Space Shuttle Enterprise

  • Critics choice

In 1977, NASA conducted a series of tests on a new type of craft: the Space Shuttle. Now that prototype resides on the deck of the Intrepid in a specially designed pavilion. Visitors can walk close to and under the 180-foot-long, six-story Shuttle, the wingspan of which is more than 70 feet.

  1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, at 46th St, 10036
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Wed Dec 31
More info

"Exposed: A History of Lingerie"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Whatever your interest in ladies’ undergarments, you’ll see more than 70 iterations from throughout history at the Museum at FIT’s new exhibit. From a circa-1770 whalebone corset to Rudi Gernreich’s wireless “no-bra bra” of the ’60s, the exhibit looks at how form and function have

  1. The Museum at FIT Seventh Ave, at 27th St
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sat Nov 15
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"City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Considering the sudden and bleak demise of graffiti hub 5 Pointz, and with all of October’s Banksy hysteria behind us, this seems like an ideal time to look back at the beginnings of street art in NYC. See a host of never-before-exhibited paintings and sketches by the legends who drove the ’70s

  1. Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave, between 103rd and 104th Sts
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sun Aug 24
More info

"Charles James: Beyond Fashion"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Metropolitan Museum of Art may be known for its paintings and ancient treasures, but fashion is increasingly what brings crowds to the institution. Nearly 700,000 people came to the stunning “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” retrospective in 2011, making it one of the most-visited

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sun Aug 10
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"Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C.F. Martin”

  • Critics choice

With all due respect to Les Paul, few names loom larger in American luthier lore than Christian Frederick Martin. The German immigrant crossed the Atlantic in the 1830s and began fashioning six-strings in the Spanish style (figure-eights with super-pretty rosewood inlays), but with sturdier and

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sun Dec 7
More info

Radio City Stage Door Tour

  • Critics choice

This hour-long tour of the Art Deco theater includes a look at the Roxy Suite—created for vaudeville producer Samuel Lionel "Roxy" Rothafel when the stage opened in 1931—a meet-and-greet with a Rockette and a glimpse at the VIP-signed guest book. Attendees can even pose in a digitally

  1. Radio City Music Hall 1260 Sixth Ave, at 50th St
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Wed Dec 31
More info

"Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The maker movement may seem like just another trendy consequence of our start-up–saturated world, but the whole DIY thing is actually an inherent part of American cultural tradition. Instead of whiling away an afternoon browsing Etsy, head to the city’s craft capital to survey 100 works by

  1. American Folk Art Museum 2 Lincoln Sq, Columbus Ave, at 66th St
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Sun Aug 17
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"13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World's Fair"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

As one of the artists commissioned to make work for the 1964 World’s Fair, Andy Warhol, always the provocateur, plastered a sizable portion of the New York State Pavilion’s facade with enlarged mugshots of the city’s most wanted criminals from two years prior. The checkerboard of front and

  1. Queens Museum Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, , enter at 111th St and 49th Ave
  2. Wed Jul 30 - Sun Sep 7
More info

"In a World of Their Own: Coney Island Photographs by Aaron Rose"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Stop scrolling through your friends’ beach pics on Instagram and direct your attention to a photographic ode to sand and sea that’s a little more incisive. As one of the first art photographers to use C-print paper and chromogenic processing, Aaron Rose was fascinated by the summer skin tones

  1. Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave, between 103rd and 104th Sts
  2. Mon Jul 28 - Sun Aug 3
More info

"Behind the Screen"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

At the museum’s core exhibit (which was completely updated during renovations), you can put sound effects into film scenes, insert your voice into a part of The Wizard of Oz, or even make a short animated film and e-mail it to yourself. Learn about live video editing in the TV control room, where

  1. Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave, at 37th St, 11106
  2. Wed Jul 30 - Wed Dec 31
More info
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