Paley Center for Media
The Paley Center for Media is home to a tremendous collection of television and radio programs that have been preserved for posterity. Whether you’re interested in reliving some of television’s most iconic moments or hoping to take a deep dive into an obscure subgenre of radio programming, the Paley Center for Media has you covered. The media archive housed here is second to none, and a wonderful resource worth exploring, as it allows you to watch or listen to clips of these pieces of media history.
Paley Center for Media History
The Paley Center for Media got its start in 1975 when William S. Paley, president of CBS, donated a significant sum of money to establish an organization devoted to collecting and preserving television and radio shows. This entity was named the Museum of Broadcasting until 1991, at which point in time its name was changed to the Museum of Television and Radio. This evolution in branding coincided with a move to the William S. Paley Building, the Philip Johnson-designed structure on West 52nd Street where the museum remains today. In 2007, the institution changed names yet again, becoming finally the Paley Center for Media in a move intended to better reflect an ever-changing media landscape.
What’s at the Paley Center for Media
The core of the Paley Center for Media experience is its sizable collection of television and radio broadcasts. This massive archive of historic media content is said to include approximately 160,000 programs from over 70 countries throughout the world. Featured among this content are offerings from numerous genres like comedy shows, sporting events, newscasts, documentaries, children’s shows, and even television advertisements.
Visitors to the Paley Center may pick out any number of these programs for viewing at individual consoles. The collection has many episodes, shows, and productions once feared to be lost to time, and it’s not limited to television: there are plenty of old radio broadcasts and performances to choose from, too.
The Paley Center also hosts occasional screenings on its in-house theaters. What’s showing here at any given time is always subject to change, but it’s typically a fascinating selection from deep within the archive’s vaults. From time to time, the Paley Center might host an exhibit or two, but they don’t usually display artifacts—the focus here is solely on programming.
The Paley Center’s location—25 West 52nd Street—makes it an easy attraction to visit in combination with other popular New York City attractions. For instance, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is but one block to the south, Rockefeller Center is two blocks south, and the Museum of Modern Art is only one block to the north. And that’s just scratching the surface of all there is to see and do right in the area around Paley Center.
Tips for Visiting the Paley Center for Media
- The Paley Center for Media is included on the money saving New York Pass.
- While advance ticketing to visit the Paley Center for Media is not strictly required, it is strongly recommended. You can reserve your admission by purchasing a ticket online ahead of time.
- Children under the age of 12 years old may visit the Paley Center free of charge.
- In addition to their exhibits and archives, the Paley Center routinely hosts all types of special events ranging from television show viewing parties to guest lectures and more. For a full listing of what might be happening when you’re planning to visit, be sure to check out the “Upcoming Events” page on the Paley Center official website.