One of the most unique collections on public display in a city known for its individualism is mainted by one of the city's oldest professional mutual aid socities, The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York. The society has been educating and training tradesmen in various skills since its founding in 1785. In 1903, John M. Mossman donated his collection of nearly 400 rare and historic locks to the society, with the mandate to make them available to the public. The result is the Mossman Lock Museum, where you will discover a passion and fascination you never knew you had.

What You Will See

As promised, you will see locks. A lot of them. Mossman's collection dates back to ancient times and spans the globe. You will be amazed at the ingenious designs produced by disparate cultures all with the aim of securing a door, a chest, or an entire bank vault. Supplementing the locks are rare diagrams, maps, books, flags, and books donated to the society by other members of the society. You will leave with a new appreciation for the miraculous elegance of a well-designed lock.

Why You Should Go

An afternoon at a Lock Museum sounds like a dare or the punchline to a story. But the Mossman Museum, while both fascinating and entertaining, is no joke. Like architecture and design, locks represent a unique combination of creative, scientific, and mechanical skills, and this is one of the world's most extensive and varied collections. Would New York be the city it is without a lock museum? Perhaps, but it is much more 'New York' for having the Mossman. It may take some convincing, but you will not be sorry that you finally decided to visit.