$10 Million Gift to the Museum of the City of New York Is Its Largest Ever

The gift is in support of the new exhibition "New York at Its Core."

Museum of the City of New York. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York/photographer Filip Wolak.
Museum of the City of New York. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York/photographer Filip Wolak.

The Museum of the City of New York has received a $10 million gift, the largest in its 94-year history, from the Thompson Family Foundation. The donation matches the price tag of the institution’s ambitious new exhibition, “New York at Its Core,” about the city’s 400-year history, and will support related educational activities.

Five years in the making, the permanent exhibition opened November 18, chronicling New York’s evolution from a small Dutch village to the so-called “Capital of the World.” It explores the city’s history from a variety of angles, recounting the stories of the immigrants, politicians, and businessmen who made New York what it is today, spotlighting the contributions of visionaries and the average citizen alike.

Bolstered by the Thomas Family Foundation’s donation, James G. Dinan, the museum’s chair of the board of trustees, said in a statement, “the museum will be able to continue to celebrate and interpret the city and reinforce our commitment to keeping education at the heart of the museum’s mission.”

William Louis Sonntag Jr., <em>Bowery at Night, c. 1895). Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

William Louis Sonntag Jr., Bowery at Night, c. 1895). Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

Included in the planned “New York at Its Core” programs at the museum’s Frederick A.O. Schwarz Education Center are class trips for children of all ages and Seminar Day professional development events for educators. The exhibition contains nearly 450 historic objects and images. Among the featured personalities are everyone from Alexander Hamilton to Walt Whitman and Jay Z.

“It’s a transformative gift,” the museum’s director, Whitney Donhauser told the New York Times. “It validates the work the staff has done for years to create strong educational programming around our exhibits.”


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