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Museum Of The City Of New York Digital Collection

Culture Pass: Get Free Access To Nyc Museums With A Library Card

LIVE Q& A with MoMA Photography Curator Sarah Meister (May 23)

New York City is home to some of the most renowned cultural institutions in the world, and The New York Public Library is making it even easier for New Yorkers to enjoy these remarkable destinations with Culture Pass, a service that allows library cardholders to visit cultural institutions throughout the city for free.

To get started, you’ll need a library card from The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, or Queens Library. NYC library cardholders can borrow passes for two or four people at cultural institutions throughout the city.

Below is just a sampling of participating cultural institutions. You can find the full list on the Culture Pass website:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Asia Society Museum
  • Bronx Museum of the Arts
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Children’s Museum of the Arts
  • China Institute
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Fraunces Tavern Museum
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Japan Society
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • MoMA PS1
  • Museum of the City of New York
  • New Museum
  • Whitney Museum of American Art

Weill Cornell Medical College / Center Archives

Approximately 150 collections of personal papers and manuscripts from individual physicians, faculty, nurses, students, and administrators who have been associated with the medical center. Included are the early cytology slides prepared by Dr. George N. Papanicolaou, developer of the “Pap” smear the papers of Dr. Vincent du Vigneaud, the 1955 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, including his research notes scribbled on napkins and correspondence with other Nobel winners Walsh McDermott’s reports on a program for improving the health of the Navajo at Many Farms, Arizona the diaries of Major Julia C. Stimson, head of the Army Nurses Corp during World War I David Rogers chronicle of the AIDS crisis, and the response of government and the medical community and Benjamin Harrison Kean’s papers on the field of tropical medicine and parasitolgy. The Archives also hold patient medical records from New York Hospital, Bloomingdale Asylum/Hospital, Lying-In Hospital of the City of New York, and several other institutions.

Searching The Nypl Digital Collections:

Hell’s Kitchen

The NYPL Digital Collections portal allows access to various image collections from a variety of library divisions. Searching these collections is best done by cross streets, since exact addresses are rarely included in the metadata. For example, to search for images of the New York Public Librarys main Schwarzman building, one would search 42nd and Fifth. Numbered Streets are usually numeric while numbered Avenues are usually spelled out, one of NYCs many nuances in place names.

Neighborhood names may not be included and may also have changed over time. At the time of this post, there was only one result for Hell’s Kitchen, but many photos of the neighborhood could be found by searching for cross streets such as Ninth & 39th or Eighth & 35th. Because the digital collections contain images from across many disciplines, you will often see items such as maps, theater performances, and illustrations in the search results. The menu choices in the left column allow you to filter your search results.

Empire State Building

In some cases, searching by landmark or building name will also yield results, but only if the name of the building was included in the metadata. For example, a search for Empire State Building delivers hundreds of images. A less well known building may not have its name included in the metadata: Tenement Museum yields no results, but its cross streets Orchard & Delancey yield dozens.

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New York Public Library

The Manuscripts and Archives holdings date from the 3rd century to the 1990s: cuneiform tablets, medieval manuscripts, and renaissance material. Its real strength, however, are the papers of individuals and families, and political and social organizations, from the New York region in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. This is a very cursory and incomplete representation of what is available.

How To Find Historical Photos Of New York City

New York at Its Core

Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street a.k.a. New York Public Library

Researchers commonly seek photographs of places in New York as they once existed in history. and WhatWasThere.Com have done admirable work in placing historic photos in their geographic context, however they represent but a fraction of available photos, and associated descriptive metadata can vary in accuracy and precision.

In the Milstein Division, our researchers frequently search for a residence or business belonging to an ancestor, the site of an historic event as it appeared before or during that event, neighborhoods as they appeared before a major change, and street photography of people in their day-to-day historic context. This type of photo research varies vastly from a researcher approaching the Library for the Performing Arts for images to a person studying photography as a process or an art form. This guide is predominantly focused on research of historical photos of a geographic location within New York City.

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New York Public Radio Archives

This department of WNYC provides a repository for thousands of audio recordings, photographs, memorabilia, reports, news items, program guides, institutional records, and promotional materials. Among its holdings are more than 50,000 recordings in a variety of formats, from early lacquer and acetate discs, to reel-to-reel tapes, to digital audio tapes and compact discs.

Research At The New York Transit Museum Archives


Have a research question? Complete this form and send it to .

The New York Transit Museum has two Archive locations open to visitors by appointment and with advanced notice. Requests for appointments are required to be submitted two weeks prior to the desired visit date.

The Museum Research Archivist can assist with specific details of your reference question or research query. Please contact them directly and please be sure to include an email address to confirm receipt of your inquiry and to schedule an appointment if necessary. For more information about visiting the Archives, click here.

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Digital Harlem: Everyday Life 1915

Employs digital technology to integrate a range of sources the case files of the Manhattan District Attorney, probation files, prison records, undercover investigations, social surveys, census schedules and the two major newspapers published in Harlem, The New York Age and The New York Amsterdam News to visualize and explore the spatial dimensions of everyday life in Harlem during its heyday.

Tamiment Library & Robert F Wagner Labor Archives

Superchief Gallery in New York City Displays Digital Art

A center for research on labor history and the history of socialist, anarchist, communist and other radical political movements. Also Utopian experiments, women’s movements, civil rights and civil liberties. Focused, but not limited to U.S. since 1865. The Wagner archives include historically significant non-current records of NYC’s labor organizations since 1977. There are also non-print collections, oral history collections, and various exhibits and programs.

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How To Make A Culture Pass Reservation

To get started, cardholders can visit the Culture Pass website and follow these steps:

  • Under ‘Reserve a Pass,’ select your library system .
  • Log in to the Culture Pass reservation system using your library card barcode/username and pin.
  • Browse available passes by date, venue or location. Each pass will offer free entry for either two or four people please read the details carefully.
  • Make a reservation.
  • Retrieve your pass shortly before your visit. You must show ID when redeeming Culture Pass.
  • Note: Only cardholders over 13 who have a valid library card are eligible for Culture Pass. If you apply for your library card online or through SimplyE, please visit one of our locations with a valid form of ID to receive your card.

    Museum Of The City Of New York

    Organization Size: Large

    The Museum of the City of New York fosters understanding of the distinctive nature of urban life in the worlds most influential metropolis. It engages visitors by celebrating, documenting, and interpreting the citys past, present, and future.

    As one of Urban Archives founding partners, their goal was to expand their digital presence by engaging with new audiences across the city.

    Their goals on the platform:

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    Reproduction And Licensing Fees

    The Transit Museum charges fees for the use of items from its historical collections. These fees enable the Museum to continue to preserve and catalogue materials and help expand research access to our vast collection. All research fees are due prior to release of any requested materials. An agreement must be signed stating compliance with all rules and conditions for use as required by the New York Transit Museum Archives. Learn more about Fees, Reproduction, and Licensing here.

    Please note that licensing fees vary dependent upon the intended use of requested information.

    Laguardia And Wagner Archives

    About the Museum

    Established in 1982 to collect, preserve, and make available primary materials documenting the social and political history of NYC. The Archives serves a broad array of researchers, journalists, students, scholars, exhibit planners and policy makers. And holds the personal papers and official documents of Mayors Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Robert F. Wagner, Abraham D. Beame and Edward I. Koch, the records of the New York City Housing Authority, the piano maker Steinway & Sons, The New York City Council and a Queens Local History Collection.

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    Bellevue Hospital: 250 Years In Service To New York

    Museum of the City of New York.
    : ,
    This two-sided poster advertises an exhibtion about Bellevue Hospital that was on display at the Museum of the City New York in 1986. The poster has 9 black and white historical photographs of the institution, and lengthy text about its history during the last 250 years. The featured picture on the recto shows a horsedrawn ambulance with a red cross symbol on the side of the carriage. The words “Bellevue Hospital” and “Ambulance” are printed along the lower base of the carriage. The ambulance waits in front of the hospital, and a doctor is climbing into it.
    This item may be under copyright protection contact the copyright owner for permission before re-use.
    1 poster : 56 x 41 cm

    Years With The 19th Amendment

    As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of voting rights for women, we look at how this has spurred digital initiatives, new monuments, collaborative consortiums, new scholarship and nuanced conversations that complicate the legacy of the suffrage movement and demonstrate the significant yet partial victory of the amendment.

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    How To Get A Library Card From The New York Public Library

    A free library card is your key to everything The New York Public Library has to offer. Anyone who lives, works, or studies in the state of New York can get a free library card at The New York Public Library. In addition to using Culture Pass, you can use your library card to borrow books and e-books, download digital media, access online databases, and much more. You can visit any of our 92 locations to get a library card or apply for a library card online. If you apply for your library card online, you will need to visit one of our locations with a valid form of ID to receive your physical card prior to using Culture Pass. Learn more about eligibility for NYPL cards here.

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    New Museum Of The City Of New York Exhibit Highlights Life Before The Digital Age

    Virtual Curator Tour – In Praise of Stuff: The Tenement Museum’s Collections

    NEW YORK — Did you ever wonder what New York was like B.C. — as in, “before computers”?

    The new exhibit “Analog City: NYC B.C.” is now on display at the Museum of the City of New York, and it offers a look back in time before the digital age.

    It’s a collection of more than 100 iconic objects and photographs that were cutting edge in their day, from typewriters to rotary phones. It’s a historic trip that shows how life was lived and business was conducted before devices took over our lives.

    The exhibit is separated into four sections highlighting aspects of life before computers — finance, media, library and architecture.

    CBS2’s Dick Brennan spoke to Lilly Tuttle, the exhibit’s curator.

    “I think getting a sense of the labor and the human capacity, all of the work and material artifacts that were involved in maintaining this city, helping it grow and really thrive in the 20th century. There was just so much stuff, so much space, so many people that were required to run this analog city, and it was just a tremendous, tremendous time for New York City,” Tuttle said.

    For more information about the exhibit, visit


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    Lgbt Community Center National History Archive

    Founded in 1990 by volunteer archivist Rich Wandel, the archive provides a look into the lives and experiences of LGBT people throughout the years. The Archive contains a wide range of media from as early as 1920, including photos, correspondence, news clippings, radio, video, and personal journals.

    What Is Culture Pass

    Culture Pass is a program for cardholding patrons 13 and older of Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library and Queens Public Library. Using their library card, New Yorkers can reserve a pass and get free admission to dozens of NYC cultural institutions, including museums, historical societies, heritage centers, public gardens and more.

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