Museum of Modern Art | NYC | History, Facts, Collection

Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art institution dedicated to preserving and promoting avant-garde and contemporary art of the late 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.One of the largest and most influential museums of modern art in the world, MoMA is a must-visit institution should you ever visit New York City.

What is NYC MoMA?

Museum of Modern Art NYC
  • Museum of Modern Art, started in 1929, is a museum dedicated to modern art.
  • It houses over 200,000 contemporary artworks, dating from the early 19th century to modern times.
  • MoMA's permanent collection is home to some of the greatest works of art such as Dali's 'The Persistence of Memory', Frida Kahlo's 'Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair', Matisse's 'the Dance' and more.
  • The museum also showcases design, performance art, photography, and film.

Why is the NYC Museum of Modern Art so famous?

Since the Museum of Modern Art started in 1929, the museum has become a space to develop and curate modern art. Over 9 decades, MoMA has come to be recognized as one of the most influential and integral repositories of modern Western masterpieces. Today, MoMA has a dual purpose: showcasing and preserving history through its permanent collection and creating a space for some of the newest and most important contemporary works of modern art. MoMA's curated collection includes works of architecture, design, painting, sculpture, photography, illustrated books, film, artist’s books and electronic media.

Who created the MoMA Museum?

The MoMA was founded in 1929 by three collectors, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and her friends Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. They wanted to create a contemporary alternative to the Metropolitan; a museum that would showcase the kind of European art that they liked. They roped in A. Conger Goodyear, who had been ejected from a gallery board in Buffalo for buying a Picasso, to be their administrator. With Paul J. Sachs as an investor and Alfred Barr as the project’s director, the Museum of Modern Art opened on November 7, 1929 in a rented office space on Fifty-seventh Street and Fifth Avenue.

Museum of Modern Art Location

NYC Museum of Modern Art

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Museum of Modern Art NYC Timings

History of MoMA New York in a Nutshell

  • The idea for the Museum of Modern Art was born in 1929.
  • On November 7, 1929, nine days after the Wall Street Crash, MoMA open to the public out of the Heckscher Building at 730 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
  • Its first successful loan exhibition was in November 1929. Paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Seurat were displayed.
  • In 1931, MoMA hosted its first exhibition to focus on a single artist. They showcased more than 130 works of Henri Matisse.
  • The famous Picasso retrospective was held between 1939–40, helping it gain international significance.
  • In 1939, Abby Rockefeller's son, Nelson, was selected as MoMA's president by the board of trustees.
  • Soon after, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden was created to honor Abby.
  • In 1939, MoMA moved to its address on 53rd street.
  • On April 15, 1958, a fire broke out on the second floor of MoMA. An 18-foot long Monet's Water Lilies painting was destroyed.
  • In 1997, the museum went through a renovation under Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi.
  • They began offering free online classes in April 2014.
  • In 2000, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center became an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art.
  • The Museum of Modern Art went through its last round of renovations from June to October 2019.

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Collection Highlights

MoMA's collection includes more than 150,000 individual pieces, 22,000 films and 4 million film stills.

Museum of Modern Art Drawing & Prints

Drawing & Prints

At MoMA, you will find over 11,000 items that were created on paper, using pencil, ink, charcoal, as well as watercolors, gouaches, collages, and works in mixed mediums. They also house over 60,000 contemporary prints and illustrated books.

Museum of Modern Art NYC - Paintings & Sculpture

Painting & Sculpture

MoMA houses the world’s largest collection of modern paintings and sculptures. You will find close to 3,600 works from the late nineteenth century, such as Paul Cézanne’s The Bather and Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, to masterworks of today.

Museum of Modern Art NYC Film


Since its founding in 1935, the Film Library has been able to acquire over 30,000 films and 1.5 million film stills, from across periods and genres. The film collection is stored in the Museum’s Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center that opened in June 1996.

Museum of Modern Art NYC

Media & Performance

The Department of Media and Performance at the Museum of Modern Art has also been collecting, exhibiting, and preserving time-based art, such as moving images, film installations, video, performance, motion- and sound-based works since the 1960s.

Museum of Modern Art NYC A&D

Architecture & Design

The Architecture & Design department, the first of its kind in the world, works on the principle that architecture and design are allied and interdependent arts. The department's collection includes 28,000 works ranging from large-scale design objects to works on paper and architectural models.

Museum of Modern Art Nyc


The Museum of Modern Art began collecting modern photography in 1930 and today, has a holding of more than 25,000 works of modern and contemporary photography. They have curated works not only by artists, but photographs by journalists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and amateurs as well.


The MoMA library features a collection that focuses on modern and contemporary art just like the parent museum. Its noncirculating collection includes painting, sculpture, prints, photography, film, and other art forms dating from the 1880s to the present. The library is also home to 300,000 books and exhibition catalogues, 1,000 periodicals, and 40,000 files about artists and artistic groups. The library's catalog is called Dadabase.


Founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss as the Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc, with the aim of converting abandoned spaces in NYC into exhibition spaces. In 1976, Heiss opened the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and over time, became one of the leading contemporary art centers in New York.

In 2000, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center became an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, in a bid to extend the reach of both institutions. Continuing its mission to promote contemporary art, today, MoMA PS1 is known for its exhibitions that put forward experimental and thought-provoking art.

How to Buy MoMA Tickets?

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All Your Questions About MoMA Answered

Q. What is the Museum of Modern Art in NYC?

A. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), located in Midtown Manhattan, is an art museum dedicating to collecting and promoting modern art.

Q. How much does it cost to visit MoMA in NYC?

A. The prices of tickets to the Museum of Modern Art starts at $25. You can purchase tickets to MoMA here.

Q. When was the MoMA founded.

A. MoMA was founded on November 7, 1929, nine days after the Wall Street Crash.

Q. Why was the Museum of Modern Art founded?

A. The idea for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was developed by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss, and Mary Quinn Sullivan, who came to be known as "the Ladies" or "the adamantine ladies". They wanted to create a museum that would showcase European art like the ones they liked to see.

Q. Where is the MoMA located in New York?

A. MoMA is located at 11 W 53rd St, New York.

Q. What is the purpose of the Museum of Modern Art?

A. MoMA was created with the vision of sharing modern and contemporary art with the public. 90 years since, the museum continues to work towards this mission, but not only democratizing art, but also embracing interdisciplinary approaches that open up fresh new perspectives about art.

Q. What is the difference between MoMA and MoMA PS1?

A. MoMA PS1, which started out as a center dedicated to promoting contemporary artists, is an affiliate of Manhattan's MoMA. While MoMA collects and showcases famous modern art pieces, MoMA PS1 focuses on providing the space for new and innovative ideas by artists.

Q. Is the Museum of Modern Art worth visiting?

A. If you enjoy art, and art history, MoMA should be on your list of must-visit venues. Discover some of the greatest works of modern art by renowned artists like Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Seurat, and Chagall, at the MoMA.

Q. How big is the Museum of Modern Art?

A. With its 2019 renovation, MoMA added 47,000 square feet of gallery space. Its total floor area is 708,000 square feet.