Museum memberships

Become more cultured in the coming year—or give someone the gift of being more interesting.

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  • Photograph: Michael Kirby

    MoMa

  • Photographer: Peter Aaron

    Museum of the Moving Image

  • Photograph: Brian Palmer/Museum of the Moving Image

    Museum of the Moving Image

  • Photograph: Brian Palmer/Museum of the Moving Image

    Museum of the Moving Image

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Museum of the Moving Image

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Museum of the Moving Image

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Museum of the Moving Image

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Museum of the Moving Image

  • Photograph: Courtesy Museum of Arts and Design

    Museum of Arts and Design

  • Photograph: Courtesy New York Transit Museum

    New York Transit Museum

  • New York Transit Museum

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    New York Transit Museum

Photograph: Michael Kirby

MoMa

Best on a budget: New York Transit Museum

Housed in a defunct  subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, this underground institution takes visitors on an unlimited number of educational rides through NYC for less than half the cost of a monthly MetroCard. Amenities include double passes to exhibit-opening parties and guided members-only tours to spooky locales such as the decommissioned Old City Hall Station, complete with dusty chandeliers and elegant tiled ceilings (next tour Dec 8). You’ll also get free admission to participating science, technology and history museums around the country, including New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the New York Hall of Science—the city’s premier destination for Bill Nye wanna-bes. $50, students $35 (mta.info/mta/museum)

  1. Boerum Pl, (at Schermerhorn St), 11201
More info

Best for film fanatics: Museum of the Moving Image

Perhaps the only New York institution where visitors can practice dubbing a film and create their own stop-motion animation, Astoria’s Moving Image hosts myriad exhibitions about movies, games, digital art and other media. The perfect gift for any cinephile, membership grants gratis access to hundreds of film screenings a year. Check out ongoing series such as “Fist and Sword” (featuring martial-arts and action flicks) and “Changing the Picture” (focusing on Latino and African-American film and TV artists), as well as retrospectives of actors and directors such as Julianne Moore and David O. Russell. $75 (movingimage.us)

  1. 36-01 35th Ave, (at 37th St), 11106
More info

Best for skipping lines: MoMA

Museumgoers who like to beat the crowds can enjoy early viewing hours sans the general public (9:30–10:30am) and a week of members-only previews to select exhibits (such as March’s upcoming “Gauguin: Metamorphoses”), as well as $5 admission for up to five friends each visit. You’ll also get access to daily screenings, performances and gallery talks, as well as discounted tickets to special events such as the PopRally series, which has previously featured Patti Smith, Cat Power and Sigur Rós. Individual level: $85, students $50 (moma.org)

  1. 11 W 53rd St, (between Fifth and Sixth Aves), 10019
More info

Best for special events: Museum of Arts & Design

Take advantage of exhibition-opening receptions, discount shopping days at the MAD store, and savings at local restaurants and venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center—plus gallery talks and hands-on artist-led projects at the annual member appreciation night (Dec 11 at 6pm). You’ll also have opportunities in 2014 to mingle with fellow art lovers on all-inclusive, curator-led day and overnight trips to museums, private collections, and artist studios in Boston, Philadelphia and the Hamptons ($195–$400). $75, students $50 (madmuseum.org)

  1. 2 Columbus Circle, (at Broadway), 10019
More info


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