Sometimes (a lot of the time) you’ve seen enough art. No more paintings. No more sculptures. No more inscrutable nonsense. Sometimes you want something more tangible and concrete and dinosaur-y. Luckily if you’re in NYC those needs can be met at the American Museum of Natural History. Because there you will find dinosaurs, a facsimile of a blue whale, and a diorama of a squid wrestling a whale. I ask you, what more do you need in life???
Of course, because the of dinosaurs and whales and (all of the other amazing things at the Natural History Museum–including the Hayden Planetarium) it is CROWDED. And Expensive. Like at the Guggenheim, admission is $22 (though like at the Met, it’s a suggested price) and some of the special exhibitions require another ticket, meaning even more cash moneys. Too steep for learnin’, if you ask me. Man, NYC is expensive.
But honestly, there’s so much to see at the Natural History Museum and so much to wonder at, that if I were to hit up only one museum in NYC and I didn’t want to trek all the way up to the Cloisters, this would be it. I know, I know, I’m an art historian suggesting a non-art museum, what is my problem? Well, lots, but mostly this: there are special people in the world who “ooh and ahh” over paintings (and I know a lot of those people), but the general reaction to a painting is “hmmm” or, “oh, pretty. Moving on.” Whereas for everyone I know who has ever seen it, the reaction to the blue whale at the AMNH is: “holy shit, that is HUGE.” and there are a lot of “holy shit” moments at the AMNH. So for my $22, I vote for “holy shit.”
Of course you should maybe not say “holy shit” too often at the Natural History Museum, since it is packed to the gills with children, but the sentiment still stands. And there’s a pretty view over the park. Holy shit again.