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Best guided museum tours

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Wendy Connett

American Museum of Natural History

Museums Science and technology Upper West Side

Home to the largest and arguably most fabulous collection of dinosaur fossils in the world, AMNH’s fourth-floor dino halls have been blowing people’s minds for decades. Hourly tours guide visitors past T-Rex bones, as well as several of the mammoth museum's sections. Highlights include the Hall of Human Origins; the Hall of Biodiversity, which examines world ecosystems and environmental preservation; and the life-size model of a blue whale hanging in the cavernous Hall of Ocean Life.

The Cloisters

Museums Art and design Washington Heights

Set in a lovely park overlooking the Hudson River, the Cloisters houses the Met’s medieval art and architecture collections. A path winds through the peaceful grounds to a castle that seems to have survived from the Middle Ages. (It was built a mere 70 years ago, using pieces of five medieval French cloisters.) Guides will lead you through the reconstructed spaces on daily tours.

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The Museum at FIT

Museums Fashion and costume Chelsea

The Fashion Institute of Technology owns one of the largest and most impressive collections of clothing, textiles and accessories in the world, including some 50,000 costumes and fabrics dating from the fifth century to the present. Periodic tours led by exhibition curators frequently sell out.

New York Transit Museum

Museums Special interest Boerum Hill

Visitors can learn about the complex engineering and construction feats that helped establish the city’s century-old subway system in this museum, located in an authentic 1930s subway station. The institution also offers 90 minute tours within its building, as well as expeditions along the city's rapid transit.

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The Tenement Museum

Museums History Lower East Side

This fascinating museum—actually a series of restored tenement apartments at 97 Orchard St—is accessible only by guided tour. Tickets are purchased at the visitors’ center at 108 Orchard St; tours often sell out, so it’s wise to book ahead. Costumed interpreters recount the daily lives of individual immigrant clans that called the building home over the decades.

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