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Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

 (Photograph: Michael Kirby)1/12
Photograph: Michael KirbyMoMa
 (Photographer: Peter Aaron)2/12
Photographer: Peter AaronMuseum of the Moving Image
 (Photograph: Brian Palmer/Museum of the Moving Image)3/12
Photograph: Brian Palmer/Museum of the Moving ImageMuseum of the Moving Image
 (Photograph: Brian Palmer/Museum of the Moving Image)4/12
Photograph: Brian Palmer/Museum of the Moving ImageMuseum of the Moving Image
 (Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson)5/12
Photograph: Caroline Voagen NelsonMuseum of the Moving Image
 (Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson)6/12
Photograph: Caroline Voagen NelsonMuseum of the Moving Image
 (Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson)7/12
Photograph: Caroline Voagen NelsonMuseum of the Moving Image
 (Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson)8/12
Photograph: Caroline Voagen NelsonMuseum of the Moving Image
 (Photograph: Courtesy Museum of Arts and Design)9/12
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of Arts and DesignMuseum of Arts and Design
 (Photograph: Courtesy New York Transit Museum)10/12
Photograph: Courtesy New York Transit MuseumNew York Transit Museum
11/12
New York Transit Museum
 (Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney)12/12
Photograph: Phyllis B. DooneyNew York Transit Museum

Museum memberships

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

By Sarah Hucal
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Best on a budget: New York Transit Museum

Museums Special interest Boerum Hill

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)

Moving Image
Photographer: Peter Aaron

Best for film fanatics: Museum of the Moving Image

Museums Movies and TV Astoria

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)

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MoMa
Photograph: Michael Kirby

Best for skipping lines: MoMA

Museums Art and design Midtown West

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)

Museum of Arts and Design; Ken Amarit
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of Arts and Design

Best for special events: Museum of Arts & Design

Museums Art and design Hell's Kitchen

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)

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