People Place and Influence

In 1923 the Museum of the City of New York was founded “in response to an almost universal longing among our people, for some place in which to preserve the annals and records of their own hometown.” In the intervening 100 years the Museum has grown a collection that encompasses over 750,000 items: a catalog of objects as rich and eclectic as the city itself.  

As a city museum, the founding mandate was to tell the story of a place and its people. Not an art museum or an antiquarian society, the city’s museum would strive to capture the looks and lives of New Yorkers and their physical city; a set of topics under scrutiny and debate in the 1920s, as Fifth Avenue mansions gave way to apartment houses and decades of record immigration transformed the demographics of the city.