Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right The best interactive museums in NYC

The best interactive museums in NYC

We list the top nine museums that let you be part of the exhibits

Photograph: Lauren Naefe / Museum of the Moving Image Night Games at IndieCade East

Among global cities, New York is blessed with astonishing number and variety of museums, from world-beating art institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to quirky establishments like Elevator Historical Society Museum. While all of them are worth a visit, some entice viewers with interactive features that can include the latest in digital technology, or period re-enactors bringing history to life. If you want to know where you can find them, consult our guide to NYC’s best interactive museums.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best New York attractions

Museums, Military and maritime

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

icon-location-pin Hell's Kitchen

This aircraft carrier turned museum offers plenty of interactive exhibts, including a real-life helicopter you can climb into; a console where you can navigate a submarine; and simulators that let you fly a supersonic fighter jet, and pilot a racing drone.


Museum of American Finance
Museums, History

Museum of American Finance

icon-location-pin Financial District

The only institution dedicated to American finance, the Museum of American Finance (located the old headquarters of the Bank of New York) features touch-screen kiosks that let you explore the history of American banking among other subjects.

Museums, Movies and TV

Museum of the Moving Image

icon-location-pin Astoria

Besides a state-of-the-art 264-seat cinema, the Museum of the Moving Image boasts a dubbing room that allows visitors to record their voices over the lines spoken by Tony Curtis or Marilyn Monroe in the Billy Wilder classic, “Some Like It Hot,” and touch-screen stations where museum-goers can create their own stop-motion animations.

Museum of Sex
Museums, Special interest

Museum of Sex (MoSex)

icon-location-pin Flatiron

Sex is the ultimate in interactive fun, so it’s no surprise that MoSex features a bouncy castle made of breasts. Other exhibits have taken a more high-tech approach, with one case using VR goggles to take visitors on an exploration of “anticipation, sexual attraction [and] identity…around a shared infinite pole dance in space.”

New York Hall of Science
Museums, Science and technology

New York Hall of Science

icon-location-pin Queens

Built for the 1964 World’s Fair, the Hall of Science welcomes visitors with immersive installations like “Connected Worlds,” in which they can learn about sustainability by using padded-foam “logs” to divert water from a 38 foot high virtual waterfall to six digitally simulated environments.


New York Historical Society

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

While the New-York Historical Society (founded in 1804) is NYC’s oldest museum, it’s totally up to the date with its interactive exhibits. Touch screens illuminate the more than four centuries of American artifacts in the Society’s collection, allowing you to manipulate images of objects to discover more about them.

New York Transit Museum
Museums, Special interest

New York Transit Museum

icon-location-pin Boerum Hill

New York Transit Museum recounts subway history with a vintage fleet of restored cars that let visitors can climb aboard to imagine themselves as straphangers from different decades dating back to the subway opening in 1904. There’s also a collection of buses and a working signal tower.

Virtual Surgery at Sony Wonder Technology Lab. Courtesy of Sony Wonder Technology Lab
Things to do

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

icon-location-pin Downtown

At the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, a “Sensi-Tile” wall lights up in response to your touch, while consoles using haptic technology allow you to perform surgery on a “virtual” patient. There’s also a Robot Zone that lets you program robots equipped with light and touch sensors.

Tenement Museum. Photograph by Keiko Niwa
Museums, History

The Tenement Museum

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

A series of restored tenements at 97 Orchard St, the Tenement Museum goes for old-school interactivity with guided tours through period-accurate apartments recreating the homes of 19th- and 20th-century immigrants. Historical re-enactors playing former building residents bring individual immigrants to life.

Time Out says