The Museum of the City of New York Celebrates Completion of 10-Year, $97 Million Reconstruction with Reception for Supporters on Tuesday, June 23, 6 p.m.

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Transformation of City Museum Fuels Current Renaissance of 92-year-old Cultural and Educational Gem

The Museum of the City of New York will celebrate the completion of a transformational 10-year, $97 million reconstruction on June 23 at 6 p.m. with a reception for its many supporters from the public and private sectors. The City Museum, which is currently undergoing a renaissance with increased attendance and highly popular premiere exhibitions, has concluded the largest expansion and modernization project in its history, setting the stage for the launch of New York at Its Core, a one-of-a-kind, ongoing exhibition about the past, present and future of the City, expected to open in October 2016.

Prior to the start of construction, the Museum’s Fifth Avenue building had been left largely unaltered since its completion in 1932, leaving the institution out of step with evolving standards in museum practice and increasingly unable to meet the needs of its constituencies, explained Susan Henshaw Jones, Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York. In light of its responsibility as a steward of the city’s cultural heritage, the Museum engaged the highly regarded Ennead Architects to design a bold renovation project to modernize and upgrade the entire facility for the first time in the institution’s history.

This exciting reconstruction of the City Museum was made possible by both private and public support. Of the $97 million, $67 million came from the City of New York through the Department of Cultural Affairs, the City Council and the office of the Manhattan Borough President. In addition, $30 million came from other donors including trustees, individuals, corporations, foundations and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.

“We’re so honored to welcome and celebrate the many hundreds of people in government and the private sector – representing dozens of individuals and organizations – who have been unflagging in their support of our work and mission,” said Jones. “Their support is the quintessential expression of New York’s renowned civic spirit that stretches across all five boroughs and over a decade and which inspires our efforts in exhibition, education and collections management.”

The reconstruction of the City Museum includes:

  •     The construction of the soaring, 3,000-square-foot James G. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller Gallery in an addition to the rear of the landmark building.
  •     A new state-of-the-art curatorial center for Museum collections, including high-density, climate-controlled storage for the Museum’s photography, costumes, prints, drawings, and the theater collections.
  •     A redesigned and relocated Museum Shop and restoration of historic elements of the Museum’s magnificent Colonial Revival building, including the grand Nathalie Pierrepont Comfort staircase, the Marble Court, and the Bruno A. Quinson Library/Conference Room.
  •     A restored and updated lobby with enhanced visitor amenities.
  •     A complete renovation and climate control of the Museum’s entire South Wing, including galleries on three floors of the landmark building.
  •     The renovation and climate control of the Museum’s North Wing, again including galleries on three floors of the landmark building.
  •     The renovation of the Frederick A.O. Schwarz Children’s Center, including three new technologically enhanced classrooms with Internet access.
  •     The renovation of the Museum’s Fifth Avenue and South Terraces.
  •     The construction of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery (which opened in November 2013 with the exhibition Gilded New York.)
  •     The construction of a cutting-edge digital lab where Museum collections are photographed at high resolution and uploaded to a new Collections Portal.
  •     The construction of new offices for Museum staff.

The decade-long renovation brings the Museum into full compliance with all City building codes and meets regulations established by the American Association of Museums and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The renovated spaces will also be energy efficient, qualifying for LEED Silver certification, the national benchmark for high-performance green buildings.

Ennead’s tenure with the Museum of the City of New York began in 1988 as Polshek Partnership with a Master Plan. Under the leadership of Ms. Jones, Ennead embarked on multiple renovation and stabilization projects, including the most recent Phase III transformation of the Museum’s North Wing.

With the physical reconstruction of the Museum achieved, the stage has been set for New York at its Core, a first of its kind, technologically sophisticated and long-term exhibition on the entire sweep of New York City’s history, which is expected to open in October 2016. New York at its Core will occupy the Museum’s entire first floor, and the installation will include the Future of the City Lab—where visitors can participate, creating and offering their vision of the City’s future.

New York at Its Core will be organized around the themes of money, diversity, density and creativity—words that express New York City’s character. The exhibition will utilize the latest technology, providing interactive opportunities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the City’s past, customize investigations of New York’s evolving character and explore the City’s future. Original, historical material will dominate, but technology will help tell the story and allow visitors to delve deeply into topics of special interest. It will also aid exploration beyond the Museum’s walls through apps and other devices that connect history to life in all parts of the City today.

About the Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation. Founded in 1923 as a private, nonprofit corporation, the Museum connects the past, present, and future of New York City. It serves the people of New York and visitors from around the world through exhibitions, school and public programs, publications, and collections. For more information, visit

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Brittnie Mabry
Phil & Co.
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