Home Travel This Winter’s Must-See Exhibits at New York State Museums

This Winter’s Must-See Exhibits at New York State Museums

by Ohio Digital News

Photo courtesy of Yayoi Kasuma, David Zwirner, Ota Fine Arts, and Victoria Miro

Whether you’re an art lover, history buff, or pop culture enthusiast, New York State’s world-class museums are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. What better way to warm up during the winter months than by spending the day exploring an exciting exhibit. From the first ever exhibition dedicated to Long Island native Billy Joel to a live animal display featuring two-toed sloths, there really is something for everyone. Be sure to add these must-see Empire State exhibits to your winter itinerary before they’re gone! 

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98 Years Since the Sun Went Out at the Holland Land Office Museum 

Exterior of the Holland Land Office Museum

In 1925, the sun went out when Genesee County witnessed its last total solar eclipse. 98 years later, New York State is preparing for another total solar eclipse in 2024 on April 8. At the Holland Land Office Museum, experience what it was like to witness this star-studded event in 1925. Explore how the Genesee community looked, where people shopped and worked, how they saw and reacted to the eclipse, and more. Batavia; on display until April 27, 2024. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4 pm.

Diverse Western New York at The Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University

The cultural diversity of Western New York has played a major role in the variety of artistic talent throughout the region. Now through March 17, 2024, you can explore the student-curated exhibit, Diverse Western New York highlighting contemporary artwork created by the region’s talented artists. Each piece showcases different sizes, colors, and mediums as well as artists of different cultures, races, and ages, reflecting the concept of diversity from all angles. Niagara University; on display until March 17, 2024. Open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11am-5pm and Thursday 1m-7pm. 

Chorus of the Deep at the AKG Buffalo Art Museum

Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Now through May 2024, admire the unique beauty of Chorus of the Deep (something ephemeral and beautifully whole, when seen from the edge of one’s vision, too full when taken head on).  Immerse yourself in an oceanic world made out of monumental glass tile mosaic. Up close, the image seems to be an abstract symphony of color and light. From a distance, abstraction comes into focus to reveal swimming bodies and sea flora. This visually dynamic experience created by Firelei Báez is deliberate and inspired by the Afro-futurist myth of Drexciya, an underwater, Afrodiasporic civilization. Buffalo; on display until May 25, 2024. Museum is open Saturday-Monday 10am-5pm and Thursday-Friday 10am-8pm.  

Billy Joel – My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey at the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

Display that says "Billy Joel- My Life, A piano Man's Journey" surrounded by photos and a cutout of young Billy JoelCredit: @stonybrookvillage on Instagram

Explore the incredible five decade career of a legendary Long Island musician at My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey at the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. This impressive exhibit is the only one of its kind and will take you through the story of Billy Joel’s career alongside his albums, tours, inspirations, and personal experiences. Admire some of the Piano Man’s most prized possessions, rare memorabilia, behind-the-scenes videos, vintage instruments, and historic photos, many of which are donated by Billy Joel himself and have never been seen before in public. Stony Brook; on display through summer 2024. Open Wednesday-Sunday 11am-6pm.

War Toys: Ukraine at the Strong Museum of Play 

Giant Scrabble tiles spell out the word "play" at the new Hasbro Game Park at the Strong National Museum of PlayCredit: @cgoverts on Instagram

Now through March 16, 2024, admire the Strong’s new exhibit War Toys: Ukraine, which dives into the lasting impact of armed conflict on children. The exhibit features a wide range of artwork and creations by Ukrainian children, photographed by Brian McCarthy, showcasing the power of children’s play, creativity, and resilience amid adversity and the effects of war on communities. Rochester; on display until March 16, 2024. The Strong Museum is open Sunday-Thursday 10am-5pm and Friday-Saturday 10am-8pm.

Fifty Years at Johnson Museum of Art

Exterior at night of the Johnson MuseumCredit: @cornell_photography on Instagram

Celebrate the Johnson Museum’s 50th anniversary at an ongoing installation at the Richard F. Tucker ’50 and Genevieve M. Tucker Gallery. The exhibit will feature works on paper, painting, and sculpture from the mid 1960s through the 1970s, including unique and editioned pieces. Admire footage from the 1973 dedication events, the original architectural model, and other ephemera from the museum’s early history. Ithaca; ongoing. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-4pm until January 21, 2024, and Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm starting January 23, 2024.

Survival of the Slowest at the RMSC Museum & Science Center 

A sloth hangs from a ropeCredit: NSP Studio

Discover the adorable underdogs of the animal kingdom that use their weaknesses to survive in a world where large, strong, and fast animals are at the top of the food chain. At this live animal exhibit, observe 15 species of nature’s slowest animals like sloths, tortoises, hedgehogs, and more. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, book an exclusive animal encounter for behind-the-scenes access of the exhibit. Rochester; available through May 19, 2024. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 9am-3pm.

LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER at the Memorial Art Gallery 

Silver orbs hang from a room lined with mirrors on all sidesCourtesy of Yayoi Kusama, David Zwirner, Ota Fine Arts, and Victoria Miro

A mesmerizing and dazzling exhibition awaits at the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room – Let’s Survive Forever is what seems like an infinite stretch of mirrors lining all the surrounding surfaces, with silver orbs suspended from the ceiling. Built on Kusama’s frequent themes of repetition and obliteration, the exhibit invites visitors to experience the environment rather than view it. Rochester; on display now through May 5, 2024. Museum is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm and Thursday 11am-9pm.

The Ceramic Nationals at the Everson Museum of Art

Blue, green, yellow, and orange ceramic bottles on displayCredit: @daytrippingroc on Instagram

Experience the birth of the Studio Ceramics Movement at the Everson Museum of Art. The Ceramic Nationals, born from a modest juried exhibition of studio ceramics by New York State artists, now has more than 200 purchase prizes in the Everson collection dating back to the Great Depression through the early 1970s. View the collection in person, showcasing the history and glory of the Ceramic Nationals. Syracuse; ongoing. The museum is open Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday 11am-4pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Thursday 11am-8pm. 

Becoming Gendered: Garment as Gender Artifact at the Genesee Country Village and Museum

Mannequin's dressed in historical clothing on displayCredit: @gcvmuseum on Instagram

Now through November 2024, explore the changing landscape of gender through clothing.  At the Genesee Country Village and Museum, experience the Becoming Gendered exhibit which showcases a wide variety of historic gendered garments for men, women, and children and demonstrates how clothing is a language we all speak. These pieces often challenged gendered norms, helped achieve gender ideals, and used color, fabric, texture, cut, and design to help form an identity. Mumford; on display through November 2024. The Genesee Country Village and Museum is closed during December and open Saturday-Sunday, 11am-3pm during January and February.

Hip Hop Heroes at the Hudson River Museum

Exterior of the Hudson River Museum

This past summer, New York celebrated Hip Hop’s 50th birthday, but the party isn’t over yet! At the Hudson River Museum’s Hip Hop Heroes exhibit, honor the history of the genre in Yonkers, the Bronx, and Mount Vernon through a variety of art and artifacts from community members as well as the stories of the pioneers who helped shape it into a global phenomenon. The exhibit also showcases hip hop as a multimedia dimension of the culture featuring work by graffiti writers, muralists, and comic book artists, who often told the story of the genre. Yonkers; on display until March 3, 2024. The museum is open Thursday-Friday, 12pm-5pm and Saturday-Sunday, 11am-5pm. 

Carlo Scarpa: Timeless Masterpieces at Magazzino Italian Art 

The newly opened Robert Olnick Pavilion at Magazzino Italian Art presents its inaugural exhibits which include the timeless work of Carlo Scarpa. A selection of 56 exquisite Murano glassworks from the Olnick Spanu Collection curated by Marino Barovier, the exhibition reconstructs the creative journey of the renowned architect from 1926 to 1947, a period during which he collaborated with the two most prominent Murano glassmakers of the time. Phillipstown; on display until March 31, 2025. Open Thursday-Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday 11am-3pm

The Time Capsule and The Hudson River School at the Albany Institute of History & Art 

A man sitting on a bench gazes at paintings hanging on a purple wallCredit: @discoveralbany and @albanyinstitute on Instagram

Ever wondered what treasures New Yorkers from nearly 100 years ago would leave us? In June 2023, a time capsule dating back to 1925 was found buried in the foundation of the Phillip Schuyler Statute in Albany. Now, you can discover the contents of the copper box for yourself on display at the Albany Institute’s official Time Capsule: What We Found Under Philip Schuyler exhibit. On display until February 20, 2024.

The Albany Institute also houses one of the largest collections of 19th-century American landscape paintings, known as the Hudson River School paintings. Explore artists like Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Jasper Cropsey, Asher Durand, and Sarah Cole who all beautifully capture America’s scenic grandeur from rugged coastal vistas to powerful mountains and rivers. Stroll through the Albany Institute’s impressive 83 painting collection at the ongoing Hudson River School: Landscape Paintings exhibit which can be found in the Christine and George R. Hearst III Gallery on the museum’s third floor. Albany; ongoing. The Albany Institute is open Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm. 

Claude Monet: The Immersive Experience at Armory Studios 

Colorful light projections decorate the walls of Armory StudiosCredit: @vincentgiordanophotography on Instagram

Step into the magical world of Claude Monet at the Claude Monet: The Immersive Experience exhibit at Armory Studios in Schenectady. This digital art experience brings Monet’s work to life with 360 degree animations, creating a unique interactive adventure. Flowers and greenery hang from the ceiling and more than 300 paintings and sketches are digitized, taking you through the artist’s journey to understanding impressionism. Be sure to try out the VR experience, where you can visit Monet’s Atelier at Giverny, London, the Netherlands, Norway and more. Schenectady; ongoing. Open Monday, Thursday, and Sunday 10am-6:30pm, Wednesday 10am-3pm, and Friday and Saturday 10am-7:30pm.

Women Dressing Women at the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art at night with fountain

A must for fashion gurus, Women Dressing Women at the Met explores the creativity and artistic legacy of women fashion designers. Presented by the Met’s Costume Institute, this exhibition will trace the lineage of more than 70 womenswear designers from French haute couture to American makers to contemporary creations. Deep dive into the vibrant history of female fashion designers highlighting established makers, new voices, and forgotten stories. Manhattan; on display now through March 3, 2024. The Met is open Sunday-Tuesday and Thursday, 10am-5pm, and Friday-Saturday, 10am-9pm. 

Richard Gilder Center at the American Museum of Natural History 

People meander through the interior of the Gilder Center's beige walls modeled after wind and water erosionCREDIT: @JULIALEEMUZI ON INSTAGRAM

This past summer a new exhibition and scientific educational institution opened at the American Museum of Natural History. The Richard Gilder Center was made to spark curiosity, featuring new exhibition galleries and one-of-a-kind experiences like an insectarium, a butterfly vivarium, the Invisible Worlds immersive experience, and more. It connects to the main museum on all four floors and is included in regular admission. The center itself is also an exhibit with spectacular and unique architecture, inspired by the natural paths wind and water carve into landscapes. Manhattan; permanent. The museum is open daily 10am-5:30pm. 

All the Medicines at the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum 

All The Medicines exhibit at the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum. Purple signage with information on the left and a log cabin on the right.CREDIT: @DAMARISSTGO ON INSTAGRAM

At the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, you’ll find an impressive presentation of Seneca Nation history. At the All the Medicines exhibit, discover how medicine can come in many forms such as Dewa’ë:ö, now known as Lacrosse which was once used as a medicine game to help lift the spirits and minds of Seneca elders. Be sure to take a walk through the authentic Seneca log cabin that was preserved and assembled in the museum as well as other exciting installations. Salamanca; permanent exhibit. Open Monday-Friday 10am-4:30pm. 

Small Worlds at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute

Roger Tory Peterson InstituteCredit: @megan.arnone.eckwahl on Instagram

Admire intricately patterned art capturing moments in nature at Small Worlds at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. The works featured are a mix of quilt art and paintings, serving as vignettes that capture the single moments in nature while also expressing larger concepts about the wild and beauty of the natural world. Observe the moods and stories of specific places and species, and reflect on our place and impact on the world. The institute is also home to the largest collection of Roger Tory Peterson’s original artwork, films, slides and papers, so there’s always something new to discover. Jamestown; on view now until April 14, 2024. Open Wednesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm and Sunday, 1pm-5pm. 

Generations: Artists of Central New York at the Munson

Exterior of the MunsonCredit: @robbydjendrono on Instagram

Celebrate the vibrant culture of visual arts in Central New York the Munson’s Generations exhibit. Experience the work of seven regional artists whose lives span the last 60 years and whose art meaningfully bridges decades together. They all work in collage where parts of images or objects are pieced together into a larger composition. The work may hint at a larger story, but it’s not often clear and obscured by multiple layers. Generations invites you to adapt new views on what is both current and timeless – the environment, relationships, desire, beauty, and the thrill of new experiences. Utica; on display until January 7, 2024. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm. 

An ‘Adz’ Eye for Innovation at the Chenango County Historical Society 

Faded and historic photograph of men working in an officePhoto courtesy of Chenango County Historical Museum

In the 1830s, David Maydole, a blacksmith in Norwich, solved an age-old problem. How do you keep a hammerhead from flying off the handle? At the Chenango County Historical Society’s An ‘Adz’ Eye for Innovation exhibit, discover how Maydole’s adz-eye hammer changed the tool industry and how he came to be the largest hammer manufacturer in the U.S. This unique exhibit also celebrates the remarkable legacy of the blacksmith and pays tribute to the Chenango Canal which played a tremendous role in the development of the company. Norwich; ongoing. Open Wednesday-Friday 10am-4pm. 

Motion from Across the Ocean at The Northeast Classic Car Museum 

Exterior of the Northeast Classic Car MuseumPhoto courtesy of Northeast Classic Car Museum

Auto aficionados should check out the Northeast Classic Car Museum’s newest special exhibit Motion from Across the Ocean this winter. It features more than 30 foreign sports cars spanning from the early 1950s to the turn of the 21st century, making it the museum’s first exhibit to showcase vehicles made outside of America. You’ll find iconic names including BMW, Porsche, and MG, as well as vehicles like the 1957 Jaguar XK 140, 1971 Datsun 240Z, and 2000 Acura Integra Type R. Norwich; on display through May 2024. Open daily 9am-4:30pm.

Climate Solutions at the Wild Center

Visitors interact with The Wild Center's Climate Solutions exhibit

At Climate Solutions, journey through an interactive, in-depth exhibit that explores the people, technology, and social movements tackling climate change in the Adirondacks and beyond. The exhibit features four different galleries where you can listen to the encouraging stories of people from across different backgrounds, generations, and sectors who are building a web of climate solutions in their lives and communities. Tupper Lake; permanent exhibit. Open Friday-Sunday 10am-5pm.

2023 New York State Juried Art Exhibition at the Frederic Remington Art Museum

A cowboy sculpture at the Frederic Remington Museum

Now until January 13, 2024, immerse yourself in the wide variety of artistic talent found all over northern New York. The 2023 New York State Juried Art Exhibition features 43 magnificent works including drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and mixed media works, all selected by juror Rachael Marne Jones. Many of these pieces are also available for sale. Ogdensburg; on display until January 13, 2024. Open Thursday-Saturday 10am-4pm.

The Thomas Cole Historic Site Permanent Collection

Thomas Cole house surrounded by orange leavesCredit: @thedailyantiquarian on Instagram

Step back in time and explore the historic home of renowned Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole. On select weekends in January, February, and March, you can take an exclusive winter tour where you’ll get an intimate look at Cole’s creative process and the inspiration he drew from the surrounding Catskill Mountains landscape. The permanent collection also includes paintings such as Landscape with Clouds, 1846-1847, and Study of Fallen Columns, 1844-1848. Catskill; permanent exhibit. Grounds are open daily dawn-dusk. The historic home is open Wednesday-Friday by appointment only from December 2023-April 2024.

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