Museum Renovation

The State Museum is proud to share a master plan for the renovation of the Museum's galleries. The master plan calls for 35,000 square feet of new exhibitions, a changeable wall system, and new interactive technology and media. 

A full master plan of the renovation project, including artist renderings and floor plans, is AVAILABLE HERE

The master plan outlines the vision and goals for the new galleries and the overall approach for the renovation project. The goal of the renovation is to share New York State's natural, cultural and human history in an integrated, relevant, and memorable way. 

The new galleries will be developed under a conceptual approach of "New York Stories" - with every exhibition telling the stories of the state in a diverse and compelling way. The new galleries will address the following themes:

  • A State of Change: demonstrates New York State's geographic and geological change through natural and human impact.
  • Politics and Prose: presents New York State as a place of debate, dialogue and documentation. 
  • Emergence of a State: defines New York State through its people, places and events.
  • Culture, Community and Context: explores New York State's people, cities, and culture through topics such as art, music, architecture and beliefs.
  • New York in 100 Objects: an exhibition of 100 objects, including objects borrowed from museums across the state, that represents the history of New York.
Proposed view of museum renovation
A State of Change

A State of Change serves as an entry into the renovated galleries and demonstrates geographic and geologic change through natural and human impact. Featured in this area are specimens from the Museum's renowned paleontology, geology and anthropology collections. (Rendering Credit: Gallagher...

Rendered view of museum renovation proposal
Emergence of a State

This area, an unexpected and immersive experience for visitors, will connect the stories of natural history and human change. Central to the area is projection mapping on the floor of the state of New York, showing a "time lapse" of geologic/geographic eras and the migration/immigration of human...

Rendered view of museum renovation proposal
New York Stories

New York Stories addresses the questions: Whose New York is it? What makes New York unique? For centuries, New York has been an incubator of innovators in politics, art, music, science and activism. Through words, works and actions, visitors will become both emotively and intellectually engaged...

rendered view of museum renovation proposal
New York in 100 Objects

This visually rich area is inspired by the British Museum's hugely successful exhibition, History of the World in 100 Objects. Working with diverse curators and collectors across New York State, we will bring together the best objects to represent the breadth of New York's rich history through...

Renovation Q&A

  • What is included in the renovation plan? How will the Museum look different?

    The master plan calls for 35,000 square feet of new exhibitions, a changeable wall system and new interactive technology and media. A full master plan of the renovation project, including artist renderings and floor plans. New York State Museum Gallery Renewal Master Plan

    The new exhibitions will share New York State's natural, cultural and human history in an updated, integrated and memorable way. 

    With the master plan complete, the next step of the renovation process is the exhibition design phase. Check back here for updates on the project.

  • Why is this renovation necessary?

    The State Museum moved to its current space in the Cultural Education Center in 1976. There has not been a major renovation of the gallery spaces since then. In addition, the renovation project presents the Museum with an opportunity to better explain the state's natural and human history. The new exhibitions will tell the stories of New York State's natural and human history that we've never been told before and will incorporate new research, media and technology. A chief goal of the Museum's mission is to serve the educational needs of New Yorkers - the renovated galleries and new exhibitions will offer a more integrated, updated and memorable educational experience for all visitors.

  • Will the Museum need to close during the renovation?

    The Museum will remain open throughout the project, although certain galleries will be closed temporarily while undergoing renovation. Continue to check our website for the latest updates on the renovation timeline.

  • How much will the renovation cost? How is it funded?

    The renovation project is funded through a $14 million capital bond item.

  • What is the timeline for the renovation?

    The renovation project is expected to occur over a four-year timeline and will be completed in multiple phases.

  • Which exhibitions/galleries are included in the renovation?

    Please see the renovation floor plan for details - the colored gallery spaces will be included in the renovation. These spaces include the current Adirondack Hall and New York Metropolis Hall. Some current galleries will be enhanced, including Native Peoples of New York Hall and the Main Lobby entrance. The grey gallery spaces on the floor plan are not included in the renovation, such as the World Trade Center exhibition, Fire Engine Hall and Discovery Place. The dark grey "Back Of House" spaces are preparation/storage spaces for Museum production and are non-public areas.

  • Will my favorite exhibitions stay?

    We are excited to create new galleries and exhibitions for our visitors to experience. However, while we are bringing in new exhibitions, we are keeping the best of our current exhibitions, including the World Trade Center exhibition, the A-Train, Sesame Street, the Cohoes Mastodon, Native Peoples of New York, and Discovery Place. We also plan to incorporate pieces of existing exhibitions into the new galleries in different ways - stay tuned!

    We look forward to sharing detailed exhibition design plans after we have completed the design phase. We will begin the exhibition design phase of the renovation project this fall. Check back here for updates.

  • How will the public know what's happening during the renovation?

    The Museum will provide regular project updates through the Museum's website, social media accounts, and email newsletter. Check back here for the most current information.

  • How can the public send the Museum their suggestions or comments on the project?

    The Museum encourages the public to participate in the renovation project by emailing their suggestions and comments to museuminfo@nysed.gov.

  • What's the next step in the renovation process?

    The next step in the renovation project is the exhibition design phase. The Museum will begin the exhibition design phase soon.