Does your family love movies, television, and all things digital? Then the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, NY, is the Day Trip destination for you!
My family visited the museum for the first time this past weekend and everyone — from the 9 year old to the 48 year old — had a blast. We’d recommend it to anyone looking for a day trip in the New York City area. If you go, plan to spend several hours visiting the three floors of exhibitions, which offer lots of interactive activities. (Cool bonus: Museum of the Moving Image is right across the street from the famous Kaufman Astoria Studios, where Orange is the New Black, Sesame Street, and many other shows and movies are filmed.)
The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture
When you enter the museum, you’re greeted with this fun installation projected on the wall opposite the admission desk. Checking out all the GIFs will make any social media fan smile.
Arcade Classics: Video Games from the Collection
This exhibit was a huge hit, and not just with the kids. It features more than 30 video arcade games from 1971 through 1993, and they’re all playable! You get four game tokens with your paid Museum admission and, if that’s not enough play time, you can purchase more tokens (4 for $1) at a machine in the exhibit. Arcade Classics is only on view through September 18, so catch it before it goes.
Behind the ScreenThe core exhibition of the Museum is Behind the Screen, a highly interactive experience that shows you the creative and technical process of producing, promoting, and presenting films, television shows, and digital entertainment.
Try your hand as a Foley artist, do dialogue voice-overs in a studio, star in your own flip book movie, and make your own stop-motion animation films, like the one my 12-year-old created below:
You’ll also see more than 1,400 artifacts, including historic film and television cameras, projectors, TV sets, sound recording equipment, costumes (the 70s kid in me almost lost it when I saw Mork from Ork’s space suit), set design sketches and models, make-up (having recently watched Mrs. Doubtfire, the Gilmore girls loved the prosthetic display of the mask), fan magazines, posters, and a nostalgic collection of licensed merchandise, like dolls, toys, board games, and lunch boxes.
We cannot wait for the upcoming The Jim Henson Exhibition, set to open sometime this year. It will feature a selection from the Museum’s collection of nearly 500 objects related to the man who gave us The Muppets, much loved Sesame Street characters, Fraggle Rock, and more.
Programs For Families
- Drop In Moving Image Studio: The Museum offers free drop-in studio sessions most Saturdays for kids age 7 and up.
- Family-Friendly Films: Not only can you enjoy the exhibits at the museum, you can see a movie with your admission! Toy Story was screening on the day we visited, and upcoming films included Zootopia, Hoop Dreams, and This Frog: A Kermit Kompilation from Sam and Friends to Stardom. Check the calendar before you go to see what’s playing.
- Holiday Workshops: The Museum also offers special hands-on workshops for families during Thanksgiving weekend, Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, as well as the winter and spring school recesses. Holiday workshops are first-come, first-serve, with a materials fee.
- Family Tour: Take an hour-long fun and educational guided tour of the Museum’s immersive, interactive core exhibition Behind the Screen. Tours are led by a Museum Educator for groups of up to 18 family members. Family tours are available by reservation during the Museum’s public hours.
Museum of the Moving Image
6-01 35 Avenue (at 37 Street), Astoria, NY
Cost: Adults $15 / Kids (3 – 17) $7 / Under 3 Free. The Museums is also a Museums on Us participant, so cardholders get free admission on the first weekend of the month
Hours: Wed –Th: 10:30 am – 5 pm / Fri: 10:30 am – 8 pm (free 4 pm –8 pm) / Sat & Sun: 11:30 am – 7 pm / Closed: Mon & Tu (except for select holiday openings)
Where to Eat
- Tacuba Cantina Mexicana is right across the street from the museum and serves up delicious authentic Mexican and Latin cuisine and cocktails. The tacos were a hit all around (chicken for the kids, shrimp for the husband, and carnitas for me) and I’d go back just for another Paloma cocktail…or two.
- If you’re just looking for a quick bite to eat and a coffee, the Moving Image Café, located on the main floor, is where to go. They offer sandwiches, baked treats, and Lavazza espresso.