After nearly a year-long face lift, the South Street Seaport Museum has reopened, under the auspices of The Museum of the City of New York, which will be running it on an interim basis for a year-and-a-half. The museum, which features an array of historical ephemera including old full-size ships, beautiful model ships (seen here), vintage photography and much more, has struggled financially in the past, spending a decade in arrears to the city’s Economic Development Corporation for rent and utilities, the Times reports.
Now it's trying to make a go of it with help from the Museum of the City of New York. Operating out of six buildings dating back to 1811, the newly renovated Museum features three floors of expanded gallery space, with a 16-gallery display that interweaves the city and the sea through photography, video, historic artifacts, and contemporary design. "We aimed to create an overnight cultural destination," says Susan Henshaw Jones, Director of the Museum of the City of New York and president of the South Street Seaport Museum. "The opening strategy is deliberately eclectic and playful, bringing a critical mass of activity to the Museum’s galleries and pointing a way toward the future of this immense cultural asset for Lower Manhattan, the city, and the region."
Included in the new offerings are a display of Edward Burtynksy’s magnificent color photos of decommissioned ships being stripped for scrap metal in Bangladesh, a display of exquisite model ships (just a small portion of the Seaport Museum’s collection of 2,500 models), Eric Sanderson’s stunning color renderings of how the island of Manhattan looked prior to 1609, and a photo exhibit of Occupy Wall Street. Some Occupy Wall Street activists were invited to a gallery preview, and had mixed feelings; one protester told City & State, "It’s interesting and in some ways very bizarre to see the events of the fall so quickly transformed into an art gallery event and for the enjoyment of people passively, particularly an art gallery that is very heavily financed by the system that we are trying to go up against."
The Seaport Museum, located at 12 Fulton Street, is open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 per person.