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Best Museums and Libraries in NYC

New York City is full of some of the best museums and libraries the country has to offer. A visit to one is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon or spend the day with friends. They can provide spaces to study as well as hangout spots with a laidback atmosphere. Another plus to all these spaces in the city is that they are often discounted or even free for students! This makes them accessible as great places for students and provides the opportunity to explore different arts and cultures all in one space. Hopefully, this list of some of the spaces I recommend in the city will inspire you to explore them. From the MET to the New York public library, there are tons of wonderful spaces for a student to visit in this beautiful city.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The MET is one of the most visited art museums in the world and contains everything from an ancient Egyptian temple to a modern art section. The museum contains over 2 million works and is one of the largest art museums in the world. It is a wonderful place to span a rainy afternoon or gloomy day. The MET can even be visited more than once as there is no way a person could get through all its collections in a day. The best part is that the MET is donation-based for NYC students so you can pay as little as a penny and get in.

South Street Seaport Museum: This museum is a nice way to spend an hour or two and is very close to Pace. They have two boats they do tours on as well and it's a nice way to learn about some of the shipping history of the city. It has a large collection of maritime materials and even a print shop. It's free or pay what you wish and in a beautiful and historic part of the city.

New York Public Library Main Branch: A beautiful building in and of itself the library is also an amazing place to study. It is completely free to enter and contains the rose room which is used almost exclusively as an area to read and study and cannot be entered simply to take pictures. This makes it ideal for a student looking to get work done. While books cannot be checked out here just across the street is the Mid Manhattan library where you can obtain a library card as well as any book you may want to read.

American Museum of Natural History: Another pay what you wish museum for students this one has a recently built new wing. One of the main focuses of the museum is the life-size blue whale in the Hall of Ocean Life. It also has a hall of gems and minerals that reopened after renovations two years ago. My favorite section is the dinosaur bones where you can find everything from a T-Rex to a triceratops. This museum is great if you like nature or simply want to see where Night at the Museum was set.

P.S.1 MoMA: This museum is located in Long Island City in Queens it is a community-focused art museum. Many of the exhibitions are from community members and are often different from what is seen in a traditional art museum. Much of it is modern art including short films and all types of exhibitions. It is located in an old public school and includes a cafe. The museum is free for NYC residents and $5 for students. It's a great way to see some community-focused art in a beautiful neighborhood.

Central Library, Brooklyn: The library is a great place to study or simply spend the day reading a book. They have millions in their collection and plenty of spaces to sit down and spend some time on whatever you need. A bonus is that's it right next to Prospect Park so you could grab a book and take a stroll or spend part of your day in each spot. There is a cafe inside and even computer access if needed. It's an amazing library that provides tons of services to the public.

Museum at Eldridge Street: A personal favorite that is closer to Pace, this museum is a beautifully restored synagogue. It teaches a lot of Jewish history specifically about immigration and the Lower East Side. The inside is one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the city with a stunning central window. It is certainly worth going just to see that. Admission is paid what you wish and Mondays and Fridays. The museum is also in Chinatown so you could always grab a bite to eat before or after you go.

The MET cloisters: This section of the MET is near Washington Heights and includes many religious relics. Part of the building was formed by French cloisters that were shipped brick by brick and rebuilt in NYC. The buildings have a very gothic feeling and are nice to wander around, especially on a sunny day. It has a very relaxing peaceful feeling and is in Fort Tryon Park surrounded by nature. The museum is pay what you wish for students and certainly worth the subway trip.

New Amsterdam Library: This is the only New York public library branch downtown and though it is small we are lucky to have it. If you're a student you can get a library card here and this comes with tons of benefits including free admission to center museums and a great online database as well as physical books. This library is a quiet place to study where you can take your laptop or some books and really get some work done. It is nice to have a public library downtown as parts of the city still don't have one.

National Museum of the American Indian—Smithsonian Institution: Another great museum downtown with an extensive collection. It tells the history of many different Native American tribes as well as Native groups throughout the world. It's in a beautiful building and also has a lot of hands-on learning opportunities. It was surprisingly immersive and a great place to learn. The museum is always free and a great place for students to take advantage of.

Written by Kat Reed

Photography by Sophia Keefe

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