Museum of Natural History Plans to Reopen in September With New Payment System

We missed you, big guy. Photo by Chris Ford.

The Museum of Natural History has applied to the city and state to reopen at 25% capacity on Sept. 9, nearly six months after it closed because of Covid-19.

Masks will be required for everyone older than 2 years old, and people will have to sign up for admission online. It will be open Wednesday through Sunday. Theaters like the Hayden Planetarium will remain closed.

There’s also a new payment policy. Visitors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut can still operate on a pay-what-you-wish system (with ID), but others will have a set entrance fee for the first time: $23 for adults, $18 for students and those 60 and older, and $13 for children ages 3 to 12, the Times reports. The fees are expected to stay in place after the crisis.

Like other cultural institutions, the museum has been hit hard by the pandemic, with 20% of the staff getting laid off and others being furloughed.

NEWS | 37 comments | permalink
    1. Chase says:

      such a boring place. i know, i suck… the planetarium is awesome though.

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        You are SO right.

        You suck.

      • Miranda Smith says:

        The old planetarium was great before they had mainly slide shows . My kids and I still have wonderful memories of the fantastic Zeiss projector shows transporting us to the heavens.

    2. UWSHebrew says:

      No TR statue = will never visit.

      • UWSer says:

        Great, more space for the rest of us. Thanks!

      • JP says:

        lol who goes to the museum just to see the crappy statue out the front anyway

      • Decent Docent says:

        I don’t think that you’re their market anyway.

        Enjoy your basement.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        I suspect that a new TR statue will be put up, only without the racist, demeaning figures of an African and Native American. So we should be clear on what UWSHebrew is objecting to.

        In fact, there are plenty features currently honoring TR in the museum.

        • Bob Lamm says:

          Wow, how will the Museum of Natural History survive without the New Yorkers and tourists who loved that racist statue? 🙂

          • Bertram says:

            Wow Bruce, how did New Yorkers survive before you pointed out your interpretation of the TR statue?

        • UWSHebrew says:

          I disagree. The depictions are not racist or demeaning. Both figures are holding rifles and both have a dignified appearance. Yes, TR is higher than them because he is on a horse, as he was a rough rider. I will not participate nor support wokeness, which includes my not giving a cent to the NFL, MLB and NBA.

          • Bob Lamm says:

            The Museum of Natural History will survive without the people who love that racist statue. And the sports league will survive without a cent from fans like the one who’s posted here. Black Lives Matter.

          • UWSdr says:

            TR is not on a horse because he was a rough rider, he is on a horse because in the language of civic sculptures going back to antiquity, being mounted emphatically states the rider’s importance. People not on horses walking next to them are less important. This is standard stuff and your statement elides this. I think it’s funny that your response to cancel culture is to cancel back! Anyway, there are plenty of other ethnocentric vestiges of colonialism to admire at the AMNH, you shouldn’t give up on the Museum just because one is going away.

          • Joanne Silverman says:

            You are 100% right. They see what they are told to see.

          • Robert Sheridan says:

            We’ve just seen 2 American astronauts make a roundtrip to the International space Station. They supplied the focal imagery but didn’t do this alone. They had a (significant) support team, I am certain not all caucasian.

            I’ve always thought that the 2 characters portrayed next Roosevelt were symbolic of own “support team” as he led the way in new directions. Neither ethnicity was randomly chosen. It’s ALL symbolic, meant to glorify all who participated and made things possible in directions TR charted. Without his support team we’d probably not yet have a Panama Canal or National Park System.

            Sad that such celebration has deteriorated into the petty bickering of the moment. The current environment is reminiscent of the carpenter only equipped with a hammer – thus preoccupied with finding nails to address. That statue has been onsite for 80 years, most of the time without handwringing.


            • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

              reply to Robert Sheridan:

              do the support team of the astronauts work naked? will they appear that way in a painting or sculpture?

              the issue with that sculpture is not a difficult call.

          • Tim says:

            UWSHebrew, you are 100% right. For decades, only a small fraction of society saw that statue through racism tinted glasses. In this age of hysterical “woke” media, sheeple who are desperate to prove they’re not racist are goose-stepping to the drum that the media beats. Same with the sports leagues who are losing millions of fans who used to watch sports because it was a diversion from daily life. Virtue signaling has been elevated to an art form, and the media is more than happy to lead the parade. Wake up people and think for yourselves.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            can someone tell me what the beef is, exactly, with MLB, the NBA, and the NFL? what precisely have they done that has caused them to “lose millions of fans”?

      • John says:

        Agree and why should they get a special permit?

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        How will they survive without your regular paid attendance?

    3. lynn says:

      Those are pricey entry fees for tourists who may (or may not) be coming back to the city.

      • MaryC says:

        Everything here is pricey for tourists. But many of them buy those tickets that included multiple museums and attractions. Before , they basically wasted them if used for the pay as you wish places. Now they would actually get more of the value those passes claim they’re worth

        • lynn says:

          Interesting, I usually went with someone who had a membership, but it’s been a few years. I’ll keep that in mind though if I ever have visitors again. 😉

    4. Becky says:

      It will be much more pleasant with only 25% occupancy.

    5. Steve says:

      Why do people from NJ and CT pay what they want, even nothing. If I go the beach in NJ or CT, I have to pay for a beach pass.

      • UWS type says:

        The pay as you wish idea was never really promoted properly here unlike The Met where it was clear. Also, it only applied to permanent exhibits, not the special ones that many people go thete for, so it’s pretty useless to many locals anyway.

        • 79th & Columbus says:

          You can say that again! I have lived less than a block from there for five years and had no idea that pay as you wish was available until I read this article. Kind of pisses me off that I could’ve been enjoying the museum this whole time.

          • Pappy says:

            79th. You could have been enjoying this great museum the entire 5 years if you just choose to. The pay-as-you-wish feature allows us locals the opportunity to support the museum on a continuing basis with donations to keep it open. If you are pissed because you could have been going there for free then you probably need to stay away anyways.

          • Ann says:

            The lowest level of membership is only $120.00. You could have been going every weekend as well as special exhibits. If you were really interested you would have figured something out.

            • Seriously says:

              Most families I know who have little kids have memberships and it’s a great value for them. I’m one person so that’s way more than I can justify spending.
              Pay as you wish doesn’t mean stiffing them. It means that you can drop in for a short visit and pay a few dollars. Maybe buy something in their shop instead of buying it elsewhere. And come for another short visit another time instead of making it a once a year thing. Win win .
              Museums know that pay as you wish options allow people to become connected with them, and maybe later when finances allow, support them more fully. And it allows people with lesser means the chance to experience what others take for granted .
              Believe me, this is well studied.
              “Only $120”, indeed

      • LEE APT says:


    6. Cali says:

      Hopefully the discovery room for the kids reopens!

      • W85Mom says:

        Unfortunately, the discovery room will remain closed, per the AMNH website. With all of the wonderful hands-on opportunities, I have to assume it will be a long time before it’s reopened. Sad to assume we will also not have Halloween at the museum this year.

    7. Steevie says:

      I do not see the Theodore Roosevelt statue in front of the museum as racist. The statue has Roosevelt on a horse with the American Indian and the African walking on either side of him and carrying his guns. He is leading them and they are assisting him. It would be absurd to depict them as equals.

    8. B_UWS says:

      For those of you who are upset about one thing or the other about AMNH, I’d like to point out (as someone who was both born and raised and still lives in the neighborhood) that this is one of the crown jewels of the UWS and one of the most important scientific research and education institutions in the city, perhaps the world. That statue is not the museum. The museum and the prominent research staff, some 250 scientists including graduate students–yes it is the only museum in the country that awards PhDs–postdocs, senior scientists, to tenured faculty (curator/professors) have devoted their lives to understanding the world and educating people who are curious and interested. The place has suffered tremendously with enormous numbers of layoffs, early retirements and furloughs. Any support for this gem of the UWS is certainly for the good of all of us, and for promoting rational thought. Something, I hope, we all can agree is needed these days.

    9. World Peacenik says:

      “There’s also a new payment policy.”

      New here, but in long-term use in Egypt.

      When I was asked for an egregious admission charge to enter the Library at Alexandria, I mentioned that my ancestors had in fact lived in Egypt, so I should get the ‘locals rate’.

      Challenged, I explained that my ancestors had in fact been forced labor in the construction of many of their public buildings.