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Greater New York Council of the Blind

A chapter of the American Council of the Blind of New York; An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Museums Providing Accessible Tours in NYC

The following museums offer verbal description and or touch tours for visitors who are blind and visually impaired. Specially trained educators highlight specific themes, artists and exhibitions, engaging participants through extensive vivid verbal descriptions. Regularly scheduled group tours are ninety minutes to two hours and are free. Privately scheduled tours are sixty to ninety minutes and are free as well. Only one museum charges a fee for a private tour as noted in the description. Most museums don’t charge an entry fee except where noted in the below descriptions. Advance notice of two to three weeks’ is required to schedule a private tour. For more information, or to be placed on a museum’s contact list, contact the museum of your choice directly.

American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square, New York, NY 10023
(Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets)
Contact: Rachel Rosen, Director of Education
(212) 595-9533, Ext. 381
AFAM provides three scheduled ninety minute verbal description and touch tours during the year. Reservation required. Private guided tours for individuals or small groups are available upon request, but require extra lead time to arrange.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West & 79th Street, New York, NY 10024
(Enter at Planetarium entrance on 81st Street.)
Contact: Lauren Drake, Manager, Volunteer Services Dept.
(212) 769-5567
AMNH provides monthly scheduled Science Sense Tours. Specific themes and exhibits are highlighted, engaging participants through extensive verbal descriptions and touchable items, such as models, replicas and various objects. Reservation required. Private tours are available upon request. The website has a thorough list of touchable objects in the permanent exhibition halls. Please Note: There’s a fee for special ticketed exhibitions. You can pay-what-you-wish for museum general admission.

Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Contact: Access Programs
(718) 501-6520
Brooklyn Museum provides monthly scheduled tours that are offered on a Thursday evening from 6:00-8:00. Individuals who are blind and those with low vision are invited to experience the museum’s collection through a descriptive gallery tour featuring tactile opportunities and other sensory engagement. Refreshments are served after the tour. Reservation required. Private tours are available upon request. Please note: When entering the museum for a private tour, you can pay-what-you-wish for general admission.

Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

2 East 91st Street, New York, NY 10128
Contact: Access at Cooper Hewitt
(212) 849-8353
Cooper-Hewitt provides monthly scheduled tours on the first Friday of the month from 1:30-3:00. Reservations are not required for the monthly verbal description tours. Private tours are available upon request. All exhibition videos are equipped with audio description. Large print labels are available at the Visitor Experience desk and can be downloaded from the museum website.

Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th St.), New York, NY 10128
Contact: Public Engagement
(212) 360-4355
Guggenheim Museum provides monthly scheduled Mind’s Eye tours and workshops conducted through verbal description, conversation, sensory experiences and creative practice. Reservation required. Private tours available upon request.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Pier 86, West 46th Street and 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10036
Contact: Access Team
(646) 381-5158
Intrepid is an aircraft carrier museum. Customized verbal description and touch tours are offered by advance request to visitors who are blind or have low vision. These two hour tours provide detailed verbal description and guided touch of artifacts, models and select aircraft, as well as provide tactile images. In addition to these specialized tours, the museum offers visitors who come on their own a Verbal Description and Tactile Guide. This book uses raised images, braille, large print and a talking pen to support self-guided visitors. The book and talking pen may be borrowed from the Information Desk at no cost. Please note: Must pay public entry fee to the museum. Through Museums for All program, those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) are eligible for free admission, along with up to three guests. Must show your EBT card and a valid photo ID. Tickets can be redeemed at the box office.

Jewish Museum

1109 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128
(Entrance on 92nd Street)
Contact: Access Team
(212) 423-3289
Jewish Museum provides bimonthly scheduled tours. These tours take place when the museum is closed to the general public. Multisensory experiences and verbal descriptions bring the museum’s exhibitions to life for people who are blind or have low vision. These tours may include raised line drawings, touch objects and other multisensory tools. Each tour focuses on either a special exhibition, or Scenes from the Collection, the JM’s collection exhibition, which features nearly 600 objects on view from across time and around the world. Reservation required. Private tours are available upon request.

Met Cloisters (A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

99 Margaret Corbin Drive, New York, NY 10040
(Located along the Hudson River in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park)
Contact: Cloisters Education
(212) 650-2211
Met Cloisters focuses on the art, architecture and gardens of medieval Europe. Private tours are available upon request.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028
(Enter at 81st Street entrance.)
Contact: Access Programs
(212) 650-2010
MMA provides monthly Picture This! tours and Seeing Through Drawing art classes. Reservation required. Private tours are available upon request. In addition, touch tours can be requested of the ancient Roman and Egyptian sculpture, and American architecture. There’s also a touch collection of a wide range of objects, from a first century Roman marble foot to a twentieth century Eskimo sculpture of a mother and child.

Morgan Library & Museum

225 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Visitor Services
(212) 685-0008, Ext. 600
Morgan Library & Museum has one of the world’s foremost collection of manuscripts, rare books and music. The museum is planning to provide seasonally scheduled verbal imaging and touch tours of the permanent collection. Reservation required. Private tours are available upon request. Private tours can focus on either J.P. Morgan’s Library and Study, or a special exhibition. 

Museum of Arts and Design

2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
Contact: April Tonin, Deputy Director of Education
(212) 299-7725
MAD is planning to provide regularly scheduled tours. Through verbal description, conversation, and sensory experiences, visitors will gain an understanding of the materials, processes, and concepts that drive innovation in the fields of art, craft, and design. Reservation required. Private tours are available upon request. Please note: Free admission for visitors with disabilities with valid ID.

Museum of Jewish Heritage (A Living Memorial to the Holocaust)

Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place, New York, NY 10280
Contact: Education Department
(646) 437-4274
Museum of Jewish Heritage provides verbal description tours of the permanent exhibition, as well as of new exhibitions. Private tours are available upon request. Please note: There is no entry fee to the museum for visitors who are blind that are attending a private tour.

Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
(Enter at the Film entrance.)
Contact: Lara Schweller
(212) 408-6447
MoMA provides monthly scheduled Art inSight tours. Reservation required. Private verbal description and touch tours are available upon request. Call Group Services to schedule a private tour at (212) 708-9685. MoMA also has a free audio recorded tour with detailed descriptions of key works of art that includes paintings and sculptures. You can pick up the device at any of the audio desks, or download the MoMA app on your own device.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

200 Liberty Street, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10281
Please note: This is the mailing address. To enter the museum, visitors can use the entrance at Fulton Street and Greenwich Street.
Contact: Access Department
(646) 583-3419
National September 11 Memorial & Museum is working on creating regular programming for visitors who are blind and partially sighted. These programs will be free of charge, which includes free entry into the museum. Reservation required. Private tours are available upon request and last ninety minutes. Please refer to the note below. The museum also offers an Audio Guide that’s downloadable to a visitor’s smartphone, or is available via a handheld device at the Information Desk. The audio tour allows visitors to independently explore the museum through vivid and detailed descriptions of the exhibitions. Please note: Private tours require a fee for verbal description and touch tours, as well as paying an admission fee into the museum; free admission for one accompanying caregiver. This is because the museum charges a fee to the general public for all standard tours. Specialized access tours need to be set up separately into the computer system in order to process the order, then the visitor can finalize the ticket purchase over the phone.

Noguchi Museum

32-37 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11106
(Enter around the corner at 9-01 33rd Road)
Contact: Education Department
(718) 204-7088, Ext. 203
Noguchi Museum provides touch tours of select works from the permanent collection are available for individuals and groups of all ages by appointment. These tours include explorations of original works of art using gloves, sensory experiences, and tactile diagrams. Trained educators include detailed verbal descriptions and contextual information during tours. Private tours are available upon request. Please note: Free admission for visitors with disabilities with valid ID.

Poster House

119 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011
Contact: Yosmerilyn Rodriguez, Accessibility Coordinator
(917) 722-2439, Ext. 413
Poster House is planning to provide regularly scheduled tours starting Fall 2021 that are free of charge. These Vibrant Verbal Description Tours of exhibitions are led by a specially trained educator. Prior registration is required as space is limited. Private tours are available upon request with two weeks’ notice.

Queens Museum

New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY 11368
Contact: ArtAccess Program
(718) 592-9700, Ext. 138
Queens Museum provides verbal description and / or tactile tours of the Panorama of the City of New York, Tiffany Lamp Collection and current exhibits. Private tours are available upon request. Please note: Museum entry fee is by a suggested donation.

Tenement Museum

103 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002
Contact: Ellysheva Zeira, Education Associate for Access
(646) 518-3041
Tenement Museum provides tours approximately five times per year. Visitors will participate in an orientation session using tactile models of the historic tenement and architectural features before going on a tour that will include touch objects, braille materials and verbal description. The tour will be followed by a reception featuring local Lower East Side foods. Reservation required. You can also go on your own and join any public tour, but must then pay the usual tour fee. If you want to attend a public tour, you can call in advance to purchase a ticket at (877) 975-3786. Request handling objects, braille materials and a free tactile orientation. If purchasing a ticket in person at the Visitor Center and Museum Shop, inform a staff member there that you’re visually impaired, and they’ll arrange to have your tour guide bring additional handling objects and braille materials on the tour.

Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014
Contact: Access & Community Programs Department
(212) 671-1823
Whitney Museum provides monthly scheduled tours of twentieth and twenty-first century American art. These specialized tours are offered on a Friday morning from 10:00-11:30, when the galleries are closed to the general public. Visitors explore the Whitney’s collection or special exhibitions, while experiencing a selection of objects through touch. Reservation required. Private tours are available upon request.

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