Over the past 25 years, the Skyscraper Museum has grown from a humble organization conducting pop-up exhibits throughout Manhattan to a permanent museum occupying a prime location in the Battery Park City neighborhood. The Skyscraper Museum is dedicated to putting on innovative exhibitions that tell the rich history of the world’s tallest buildings alongside galleries that focus on the architecture of the fabled New York City skyline.
Skyscraper Museum History
The Skyscraper Museum was founded in 1997, and for the first half-decade of its existence it occupied multiple temporary locations on or around Wall Street. In those days, the museum consisted primarily of individual temporary exhibits on such subjects as the architecture of downtown New York, the Empire State Building, and Times Square.
In 2004, the Skyscraper Museum moved to a permanent location, its current home, in Battery City Park. This approximately 5,000 square-foot-space was designed by the acclaimed architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, and proudly welcomes visitors from all over the world through its sleek and stylish doors each year.
What’s at the Skyscraper Museum
Visitors to the Skyscraper Museum will encounter an interactive mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions. A centerpiece of the permanent exhibitions here is a 36-foot-long mural that depicts the evolution of large structures throughout human history, ranging from the pyramids of antiquity to the skyscrapers of today. There are also permanent exhibitions devoted to telling the history of the World Trade Center complex, showing the growth and development of the New York City skyline, and charting the titleholder of “World’s Tallest Building” over the course of the past several decades.
The Skyscraper Museum also routinely houses an assortment of special exhibitions. These temporary shows are by definition always subject to change, but some examples of recent past presentations include exhibits on urban housing density, the architecture of Shanghai, Times Square as it appeared during the 1980s, and the history of the Woolworth Building, to name just a few.
Some visitors to the Skyscraper Museum will be interested to know that the attraction also runs a variety of guided walking tours. The availability of these tours is subject to change—so if this element of the Skyscraper Museum experience sounds appealing to you, be certain to check out their official website for more details—but typically they focus on the history of the Battery Park City neighborhood and the Hudson River waterfront.
The Skyscraper Museum store sells a selection of souvenirs designed to appeal to the admirer of architecture in all of us. Notable products sold here include books, mugs, clothing, and an exclusive line of Empire State Building prints.
Tips for Visiting the Skyscraper Museum
- The Skyscraper Museum is included on several money saving tourist passes including the New York Pass and NY Sightseeing Pass.
- Admission to the Skyscraper Museum is via timed-entry ticket. Some tickets are likely to be available at the door, but it’s highly recommended that you reserve your admission to the venue in advance.
- If you must drive to the Skyscraper Museum, there are garages in the area that will serve your parking needs. However, it’ll be quite expensive. If possible, consider taking public transportation to the attraction, which is accessible via multiple bus routes and subway lines.
- The Skyscraper Museum is located near a number of notable New York City attractions, including the Museum of Jewish Heritage, The Battery, and the 9/11 Tribute Museum. It’s also in the general vicinity of where the Statue of Liberty ferries depart from, making it perfect for combining with other attractions in a hassle-free fashion.