The Queens Museum (once called the Queens Museum of Art) is the most vibrant remaining artifact from the legendary 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs, apart from the Unisphere. The museum was designed to house the 'New York City Building' for the 1939 Fair and later served as the original home of the United Nations. In 1964 the building was at the center of the Fair's New York Pavillion, only opening as a museum in 1972. The museum now plays host to a variety of temporary and permanent artistic, architectural, and engineering shows, including the spectacular Panorama of the City of New York
The eyes of the Fair are on the future
What You Will See
The museum's permanent collection can be split into three categories: World's Fair relics, Tiffany Glass, and the Panorama. Dr. Egon Neustadt amassed one of the world's largest collections of Tiffany Glass and selected the Queens Museum as its permanent home. The unforgettable New York World's Fairs are cataloged in detail by the museum. The detailed Panorama remains one of the most interesting ways to explore New York City. The rest of the museum hosts traveling and temporary exhibitions, tending towards Contemporary Art by international artists. Plan for a full day--there is a lot to see.
Why You Should Go
If nothing else, you should see the Panorama. But as the museum continues to expand its programming, the Queens Museum becomes less and less the last living artifact of the behemoth World's Fairs, and more a thriving, contemporary institution that hosts exhibitions with an eye to the international stage. Whether you are looking backward at New York City's history or exploring the art of today, there is something to be discovered at the Queens Museum.
The Queens Museum unexpectedly timely exhibition After the Plaster Foundation examines the question of home and property in the twenty-first century. The museum brings together works by 12 different artists and collectives working in New York City, including the installation of an entire home's attic by Heather Hart. Visitors are invited to climb on the roof and explore the attic interior. This is one of the museum's most engaging exhibitions in recent years.
Bruce Davidson is one of the most important American street photographers of the last century. His focus the daily life in New York City has made him a fixture in local galleries and major museums since the late 1950s. His most recent show at the Queens Museum celebrates his New York City work, documenting how the city and its unique challenges have evolved throughout his 60-year career.
While not as famous as the legendary Panorama of the City of New York, the Queens Museum is home to another scale model built for the World's Fair. The 1939 Relief Map of the New York City Water Supply System in on the long-term view. This exhibition, hosted near the installation, explores the history and long-term fate of the Ridgewood Reservoir, which has supplied fresh water to Brooklynites since 1858.
The Queens Museum commissioned the Austrian artist Ulrike Muller to create a large scale mural for the museum's interior. Muller drew inspiration from Erich Kastner's children's book The Animal's Conference. Supplementing the mural is a charming collection of art produced by children, curated by Amy Zion, exploring children's impressions of world events and international diplomacy.