NYC Museums Off The Beaten Path

Kids love museums–they just have to find the right ones. Here are six that probably aren’t on your radar, but should be.

Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge Number 79 at the Waterfront Museum.

The African Burial Ground National Monument holds the remains of 15,000 free and enslaved Africans who were buried outside the settlement of New Amsterdam in Lower Manhattan. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the site had been buried by landfill over the years, but was discovered in 1991 as a federal office building was being constructed.

Your budding André or Anna will be in his or her element as they discover the elements of style, fashion and design at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The museum’s latest exhibit, “Global Fashion Capitals,” explores the history of established fashion capitals like Paris, New York, and Milan, and the rise of 16 new fashion centers around the world.

The Morbid Anatomy Museum in Gowanus, Brooklyn, shows memorial artworks, medical moulages, wax embryological models, natural history specimens, and a variety of uncanny artworks and artifacts from around the world—it’s perfect for adolescent boys!

The Museum of Interesting Things’ eclectic collections of antiques—which include everything from from a Zenith tube radio to a shoe shine monkey—span a variety of subjects and periods. Curator and founder Denny Daniel brings his collections to schools, libraries, and other community venues, allowing every participant to become a tinkerer through interaction with the collections.

The United Nations has a special 45-minute tour on Thursday afternoons oriented around children ages 5-12. Participants learn about how the UN is addressing challenges faced by children around the world such as hunger, natural disasters and disease. In a kid-friendly way, it explains the work of the Security Council and issues such as the promotion of human rights, disarmament, peacekeeping, and the Millennium Development Goals. Advance online tickets are required.

Red Hook, Brooklyn’s Waterfront Museum features the Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge Number 79. Built in 1914, the barge shows how goods and products arrived in New York before bridges and tunnels became the main conduit in the 1960s. The Museum’s site claims that Barge 79 is the only restored floating wooden covered Hudson River Railroad Barge that is open to the general public.

Many of hese museums are free or carry a nominal charge, but another great way to get a deal is by trolling Groupon, Livingsocial, Amazon local other flash sale sites. You can sometimes even find family memberships to favorites like the American Museum of Natural History.

Hillary Chura is a Manhattan-based mother of two who writes about money-saving tips for New York families. Follow her on Twitter at @hillarychura.

To read our 2015 Museums Guide, click here.