New-York Historical Society: Toys, Trains, SuperHeroes

New York City

New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in NYC, offers fascinating exhibits © 2015 Karen Rubin/

One of the most fascinating museums in New York City is the New-York Historical Society. Here are highlights of the current exhibits:

Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection, through February 28, 2016
This holiday season, the New-York Historical Society  transforms into a magical wonderland with a dynamic installation from its renowned Jerni Collection of model trains, scenic elements, and toys from a bygone era. Featuring several treasures exhibited for the first time since New-York Historical acquired the collection, Holiday Express unfolds over a broad swath of the first floor and continues throughout the lower-level DiMenna Children’s History Museum. With the aid of theatrical lighting, an ambient audio “soundscape,” and other visual effects, visitors are engaged in an all-new and captivating holiday experience. Organized by New-York Historical’s Mike Thornton, Assistant Curator of Material Culture.

Superheroes in Gotham through February 21, 2016
Superheroes are a part of our daily lives, engaging our imaginations on the pages of comic books, on television, and movie screens, as well as across the Broadway stage and in the virtual world of gaming. Since their introduction in the late 1930s, superheroes have been societal role models, inspirational, and enviable. Based on mythological archetypes, they navigate the twists and turns of modern life. Through comic books, original drawings, posters, video clips, costumes, early merchandise, and props, Superheroes in Gotham tells the story of comic book superheroes in New York City; the leap of comic book superheroes from print to radio, to television, and ultimately to film; the role of fandom, including the yearly mega-event known as New York Comic Con; and how superheroes continue to inspire the work of contemporary comic book artists, cartoonists, and painters in New York City. Organized by New-York Historical’s Debra Schmidt Bach, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts, and Nina Nazionale, Director of Library Operations.

Silicon City: Computer History Made in New York through April 17, 2016
The New-York Historical Society celebrates New York’s central role in the digital revolution, highlighting the pioneering work and technological innovations that have transformed daily life. Silicon City presents New York as a technological hub where the intersection of commerce and innovation gave rise to the first computers and tech companies. Featuring more than 300 artifacts from the late-1800s through the 1980s, Silicon City will include early computers and telecommunications hardware, archival materials, photographs, digital artworks, and interactive experiences that immerse visitors in the decades-long evolution of technology. Organized by New-York Historical’s Chief Curator Stephen Edidin with assistance from Research Associate Cristian Panaite.

Maestà: Gaddi’s Triptych Reunited through March 20, 2016
After conservation and exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum and at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the New-York Historical Society’s Madonna and Child Enthroned with Ten Saints: Maestà is back on Central Park West. Painted circa 1330–34 by Taddeo Gaddi, the major disciple of Giotto, this panel was originally the central section of a triptych with two shutters (sportelli). Following new research the Maestà will be exhibited with the two double-sided wings from a private collection that have been linked to it. One features the artist’s amazing solar eclipse (Gaddi was temporarily blinded by one). Its frame will also be reconstructed and its conservation highlighted. In addition, this exhibition will showcase other 14th- and early 15th-century Italian panels donated to N-YHS in 1867 by Thomas Jefferson Bryan, a pioneering New York collector of Italian “primitives,” (i.e., painters before Raphael). Organized by Roberta J.M. Olson, Curator of Drawings, New-York Historical Society.

Picasso’s Le Tricorne, Ongoing
The show positions Picasso’s curtain in a dialogue with other New-York Historical Society objects, including paintings from the European tradition that provide background to the artist’s work as well as to the traditions against which the revolutionary artist rebelled. Other thematic threads pivot around dance subjects and explore roughly contemporary American paintings, sculpture, posters, and watercolors. Among the works included are examples by William Adolphe Bouguereau, Will H. Bradley, Philippe de Champaigne, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Childe Hassam, Malvina Hoffman, Ricardo de Madrazo y Garreta, Elie Nadelman, Edward Penfield, Maurice Prendergast, John Sloan, and Adriaen van Utrecht.  Organized by Roberta J.M. Olson, Curator of Drawings, New-York Historical Society.


The Story: A Reporter’s Journey
Judith Miller, Bret Stephens
Tuesday, January 12, 2016, 6:30 pm
$34 (Members $20)
In an intimate conversation, Judith Miller turns her reporting skills on herself and her career, discussing her early years at The New York Times, her controversial work regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and the decisions she made during the Scooter Libby investigation.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Jill Lepore
Thursday, January 14, 2016, 6:30 pm
$34 (Members $20)
Since her introduction in 1941, Wonder Woman has remained the most popular female superhero of all time, but the history behind her creation has remained largely unknown. American History Book Prize winner Jill Lepore uncovers the origin of one of the world’s most iconic superheroes and how it holds within it a fascinating family story, as well as a crucial connection to 20th-century feminism.

The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton
William E. Leuchtenburg, Douglas Brinkley
Saturday, January 16, 2016, 9:30 am to 11:00 am
$44 (Members $32)
From the assassination of William McKinley in 1901 to Bill Clinton’s last night in office in January 2001, the American presidency—and the nation, as a whole—experienced a tremendous growth in power and influence. Celebrated presidential historian William E. Leuchtenburg chronicles the presidents of the past century, highlighting their moments of high drama and triumph.

Leaders in War: Charles de Gaulle
Andrew Roberts
Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 6:30 pm
$38 (Members $24)
In June 1940, General Charles de Gaulle showed that sublime heroism was possible even during the chaos surrounding the Fall of France. Andrew Roberts discusses de Gaulle’s leadership, showing how his response to that catastrophe was always admired by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, even while they clashed with his rebarbative personality.

America’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
Roger Lowenstein, Byron R. Wien
Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 6:30 pm
$34 (Members $20)
In 1913, after a series of disastrous financial panics shook the nation, Congress was persuaded to approve the landmark Federal Reserve Act. Renowned financial author Roger Lowenstein reveals the rich history and key players behind the drama-filled creation of America’s central bank, which ultimately enabled the young country to become a global financial powerhouse.

Sherman’s “Other” March: Burning the Carolinas
John F. Marszalek, James M. McPherson, Harold Holzer
Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 6:30 pm
$38 (Members $24)
After making Georgia “howl” by marching his army from Atlanta to the sea, Union General William T. Sherman led an even more destructive march—through the Carolinas. Join three eminent historians as they explore Sherman’s devastating follow-up campaign to break Confederate resistance and end the Civil War.

Founded in 1804, New-York Historical is the oldest museum in New York City. New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. It is located across 77th Street from the Museum of Natural History.

New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (at 77th Street), New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400,

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