The Paley Center for Media



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  • The Paley Center. Photograph by Norman McGrath

  • Paley Center lobby

  • Apollo 11 moon landings. Courtesy of NASA

  • Consoles. Photograph by Norman McGrath

  • Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

  • The library. Photograph by Norman McGrath

  • Ralph Guild Radio Listening Room. Photograph by Norman McGrath

  • Sly Stone in the Rock on Fifth exhibit

  • Roger Daltry of The Who in the Rock on Fifth exhibit

The Paley Center. Photograph by Norman McGrath

1 Don’t show up here expecting to see used set pieces or props from your favorite shows: “A lot of people think they can see Archie Bunker’s chair or things like that, but we’re a software museum,” says television curator David Bushman. “It’s all about the programming.”

2 The museum has gone through two name changes: it opened as the Museum of Broadcasting in 1975, then switched to the Museum of Television & Radio in 1991. Its new moniker was set in 2007 as a tribute to the man who founded the museum, William S. Paley.

3 The Steven Spielberg Gallery on the first floor hosts special exhibits, which combine programming from the Center’s collection with artifacts donated by other institutions or individuals — an exhibit about John Lennon is in the works for fall.

4 Total number of items in the museum’s collection: nearly 150,000. That includes television and radio programs, advertisements, podcasts and other new media. Nonmembers are allowed one hour per visit to view items from the collection, so use it wisely.

5 Television geeks aren’t the only ones who frequent the Center: Conan O’Brien boned up on the Late Night show before taking over the program from David Letterman in 1993, while Robert Redford and Nathan Lane have used the Center’s resources to research film roles.

6 If you don’t want to be surrounded by people guffawing at old episodes of Seinfeld, ask to view your selections in the Scholar Center. It’s typically used by students and die-hard researchers (and the occasional celeb), but it’s open to anyone who prefers a quiet workspace.

7 Also on the fifth floor: the Ralph Guild Radio Listening Room, which Bushman recommends as a peaceful place to chill out. The headsets are preprogrammed with classic radio shows, and the room also houses the Center’s radio studio, which has been used by Bob Costas, Neil Young and Ryan Adams (among others) for live broadcasts.

8 Mingle with other TV addicts at the Paley’s public events: Past programs include advance screenings of NYC Prep, a Star Trek smackdown panel (Kirk versus Picard!), and talks with stars like Kristin Chenoweth and Cloris Leachman. Up next: Broadway stars do live readings from shows like Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

9 Of course, a museum that’s devoted to media—old and new—has a Twitter feed: Follow the Center at for the latest Paley news, clips from panel discussions and more.

The Paley Center for Media: 25 W 52nd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-621-6600, Wed, Fri--Sun noon--6pm, Thu noon-8pm. $10, seniors and students $8, children under 14 $5.


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