Must See Spring NYC Museum Exhibits

New York City offers an enormous breadth of galleries, museums, and theatres. With the seemingly endless number of offerings, it can feel impossible to decide where to explore. We’ve found that it helps to think in terms of fashion—dress seasonally to get the best looks. Read on for this Spring’s must see exhibitions and galleries.

Thomas Jefferson: The Private Man

Thomas Jefferson's letter to Jon Adams at The New York Historical Society

Americans know Jefferson as the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States. However, the iconic renaissance man was so much more. This exhibit explores his life outside the public realm as a gardener, farmer, and architect. Providing an intimate look at more than thirty personal documents and artifacts. Among the collection is his final letter to John Adams, early drawings of the Monticello estate, and a copy of the Declaration of Independence written in his own hand.

 The New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Tattooed New York

A drawing of a sailor getting a tattoo while two men watch, Tattooed New York at The New York Historical Society

For more than 300-years, New York has played a pivotal role in the history of tattooing. With nearly 40% of adults 24-40 sporting at least one tattoo, it’s safe to say interest in the art form is at an all-time high. This exhibition explores tattooing from the ceremonial Native American tradition to the modern-day obsession. With more than 250 items on display, you’ll learn about important moments in skin-art history—like the City’s ban on tattoo parlors, and the development of Thomas Edison’s electric pen (a precursor to a tattoo needle gun).

 The New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

A Third Gender: Beautiful Young in Japanese Prints

The gallery featuring A Third Gender: Beautiful Young in Japanese Prints, Japan Society

Offering bygone context to the current LBGTQ discussions, this exhibit explores wakashu, or the “third gender”. These young men kept an androgynous appearance so to be desirable to both men and women, something considered completely normal in Japan throughout the Edo period (1603-1868). The Japan Society explores the role of the wakashu with paintings, woodblock prints, luxury objects and personal ornaments that offer a historical perspective on a modern discussion.

 Japan Society
333 E 47th St
New York, NY 10017

Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion
in an American Counterculture

Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture at the Museum of Arts and Design

Celebrating the handmade fashion of the 1960’s and 70s often referenced as the hippie movement, this exhibits got style. These often handmade, bohemian garments showcase the aesthetic of the time—tie-dye, embroidery, and patchwork dominate these Vietnam Era clothes. However, the exhibit goes deeper than fashion and explores the counterculture that swept away the social conformity that dominated the previous decade. It sheds light on the dawn of the alternative lifestyle that is still evident today.

 Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Cir
New York, NY 10019

I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson at The Morgan Library & Museum

Dickinson authored more than 1,700 poems, less than a dozen of which were published during her lifetime. The fact that she spent much of her life as a recluse, does little to diminish the impact her works has had on poetry and literature. This exhibit is made up of more than 100 rarely seen items including manuscripts and letters written by her own hand. Of special interest are the ones that highlight her deep and lasting friendships that seem to deeply contrast her physical isolation.

 The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10016

Native Fashion Now

Native Fashion Now at The National Museum of the American Indian

Native Fashion is just that, a deep look at the fashion and fashion designers of Native descent. Vibrant street clothes and haute couture combine in the nearly 100 object collection. Now features clothing spanning 50 years of iconic fashion, accessories, and footwear that marry contemporary aesthetics with traditional materials.

 National Museum of the American Indian
1 Bowling Green
New York, NY 10004