Travel Through Time & Across the Globe with Night at the Museums

By Joseph Ferris

Move over Ben Stiller! Night at the Museums is bringing Lower Manhattan’s cultural institutions to life on the evening of June 25.

From 4-8p, more than a dozen of the neighborhood’s museums, archives and historic locations will be open to the public for free.

While all activities are free, some require tickets or advance reservations. For a full guide on planning your Night at the Museums, visit their website.

After all that museum exploring, you will have certainly worked up an appetite. You’re in luck! Get Low runs every Tuesday throughout the summer in Lower Manhattan. Stop by Acqua, a Seaport seafood restaurant known for its relaxed atmosphere and handmade pasta. It is that week’s participating participating restaurant to get 20 percent off dinner for two. Follow us @downtownnyc to see highlights from each week’s participating restaurant.

This year’s participating institutions are:

African Burial Ground National MonumentNorth America’s oldest and largest known burial site for free and enslaved African-Americans. While the site date backs to the 17th century, it was uncovered in 1991. The monument tells the story of those buried there as well as who preserved the site at the end of the 20th century.

Black Gotham ExperienceThis immersive storytelling project celebrates the impact of the African diaspora in New York City since the early 17th century. Tours include “The Other Side of Wall Street” which travels back to the first free Black community in New York, and “Caesar’s Rebellion,” which explores a slave rebellion in 1741.

China InstituteLocated on Rector Street, the China Institute showcases Chinese history and culture through gallery exhibitions, hands-on events and a series of diverse programs. These programs feature live music, arts activities and film screenings.

Federal Hall National MemorialStanding on the site of the George Washington’s first inauguration, Federal Hall features exhibits that explore the history of the site, the country’s first president and the early years of the country.

Fraunces Tavern MuseumStep back in time and stand in the room where George Washington said farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolutionary War. Fraunces Tavern tells the story of New York City’s importance during the war and while bringing the 18th century to life with music and dance lessons.

Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the HolocaustThis museum is dedicated to educating the world about “Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust” in an effort to ensure that the world never forgets. The Museum of Jewish Heritage currently features the special exhibit, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. A ticket is required for entry to this exhibit.

National Archives at New York CityDive into the past at the National Archives which houses Federal government records. Research your family through immigration, census and naturalization records. The Archives also features archival facsimiles.

National Museum of the American IndianLearn about the diversity of the America’s Native peoples at this Smithsonian museum. Located in the U.S. Customs House, the NMAI features an interactive activity center for kids as well as a unique collection of exhibits and programming.

National September 11 Memorial & MuseumCommemorating those who lost their lives on the World Trade Center campus, the Museum explores 9/11’s implications, impact and continuing significance. The recently opened 9/11 Memorial Glade recognizes “the ongoing sacrifice of rescue, recovery and relief workers, and the survivors and members of the broader lower Manhattan community who are sick or have died from exposure to toxins in the aftermath of 9/11.”

9/11 Tribute MuseumThis museum highlights the personal experiences of the 9/11 community with tours led by survivors,  first responders, recovery workers and relatives who lost loved ones. Exhibits showcase the support and generosity in the wake of the attacks.

NYC Municipal ArchivesTake a deep dive into the historical records about New York City that date back to 1645. The collection includes manuscripts, maps and blueprints.

Poets HousePeruse the written word at Poets House which houses more than 70,000 volumes of poetry. Their exhibits “focus on the physical and visual expression of poetry” and their archives include handwritten letters from famous poets.

The Skyscraper MuseumExplore the history of New York City’s skyscrapers and learn about the people behind Manhattan’s ever-changing yet perpetually iconic skyline.

South Street Seaport Museum A collection of historic buildings, ships and exhibits, this museum tells the story of “Where New York Begins” while exploring the role the city’s waterways played in the development of the United States.