New York Historical Society Reopened at Last

On November 11, the New York Historical Society reopened its Central Park West location following a three year, $70 million renovation project.

The society updated the exterior of the building, by creating a wider main staircase and an expanded main entrance.  The 77th Street entrance was redesigned with a focus on improved accessibility for school groups and visitors with disabilities.  The building’s architectural features are now illuminated at night.  Ray H. Dovell, AIA, principal-in-charge of the project for Platt Byard Dovell White Architects said, “We believe the strength and beauty of the building’s exterior will stand out in a new light, while the flow of space inside will draw visitors directly into the compelling stories that New-York Historical has to tell.”

The project brings many changes inside NYHS, the new 3,400 square-foot Smith Gallery on the ground floor; a updated and improved Robert H. Smith Auditorium; provisions for a new Stephen Starr restaurant, Café Storico; renovations to the Museum Store and Rotunda; and established the DiMenna Children’s History Museum and the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library.

Exhibition reviews are largely positive.  Christopher Gray of the New York Times noted that the newly designed entrance “but inside is a smashing bells-and-whistles display of items from the society’s magnificent collections.”  Michael J. Fressola, writing for praised the Children’s Museum’s in-floor artifact cases for giving visitors “an instantaneous, surprising lesson in how history is alive.”

More New York Times reports and reviews are available here.