Aside from ongoing special exhibitions, the New-York Historical Society houses the acclaimed Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture. The Center offers an innovative display of 40,000 museum objects, ranging from George Washington's camp bed at Valley Forge to the world's largest collection of Tiffany lamps.
Encompassing 21,000 square feet and located on the Historical Society's fourth floor, the Luce Center houses collections long-held in off-site storage. Information about this arsenal of Americana is delivered in a variety of ways, ranging from thematic audio tours to interactive computer ports and mini-exhibition stations. The Luce Center Catalog is also available to the public via the World Wide Web. Envisioned as a dynamic learning resource for scholars and the general public alike, the unique design of the Luce Center allows visitors a behind-the-scenes look at a working museum collection.
The collection includes:
PAINTINGS Over 2,500 paintings and over 4,000 drawings work on paper, dating from the 1600s through the present day. The collection includes colonial portraiture by artists such as Gilbert Stuart and Charles Willson Peale; works by major Hudson River School artists such as Cole, Durand and Church; landscapes, genre scenes, New York City views, and a rotating selection of the extant 435 original watercolors that comprised John James Audubon’s The Birds of America.
SCULPTURE An encyclopedic collection of over 800 works documenting the full range of representational sculpture in America from the colonial period to the present day. The collection includes full figure portraits and portrait busts (such as Jean Antoine Houdon’s of Washington, Jefferson and Franklin); life and death masks of major historical figures, (e.g., Aaron Burr, Abraham Lincoln, and Samuel F.B. Morse); folk sculpture in a range of forms (much of it collected by the pioneering modernist Elie Nadelman); tombstones; and a comprehensive collection of figural genre scenes by John Rogers.
FURNITURE Over 500 pieces. Highlights include George Washington’s inaugural armchair; furniture from the first U.S. Congress at Federal Hall; chairs of Louis XVI and Napoleon; and the desk at which Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.
DECORATIVE OBJECTS Over 8,000 examples of silver, ceramic, glass, pewter and other metal objects used in a variety of contexts from the 1700s through the present day. Objects range from a 381-piece silver dinner service given to Commodore Matthew Perry for negotiating the opening of Japanese ports to United States trade, to examples of New York City-made stoneware, once essential for the home storage of foods.
TOOLS FOR HOME AND TRADE Thousands of objects used in the home, on the farm, or in workshops and offices from the Dutch colonial era to the early 1900s. Included are items related to food preparation, and household maintenance, as well as tools for manufacture, trade and various professions.
TIFFANY A collection of 132 lamps manufactured by Tiffany Studios. The lamps were a gift to the New-York Historical Society in 1984 from Dr. Egon Neustadt, a New York City orthodontist and collector. Over the course of five decades, Dr. Neustadt and his wife amassed one of the most important and comprehensive Tiffany lamp collections in the world.
MEZZANINE COLLECTIONS A diverse array of small collections, including archaeological artifacts; badges, medals and ribbons; firefighting and police equipment; jewelry; military gear and weapons; personal accessories; public and civic artifacts; souvenirs; textiles and needlework; and toys, dolls, and the remarkable Liman collection of American board games.
There are no events taking place on this date.