The National Museum of Mathematics
11 East 26th Street
New York, NY 10010
Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm
Fee: Adults $25.00/Seniors-Children-Students $20.00
My review on TripAdvisor:
COVID had closed this unique little family orientated museum when I visited the NoMAD neighborhood earlier last year and it finally reopened for business right before the holidays. I could see the reasons why in that the museum is very interactive and there are a lot of activities and displays that warrant families touching objects and getting involved with the exhibitions.
Like most museums in Manhattan, the MoMATH or the Museum of Mathematics is quite pricey at $25.00 ($26.00) for an adult and for students, children over 12 and seniors over 60 it is $20.00. While it may be lot for an average family, a trip there is an eye-opening experience at least to me it was that day.
The museum has two full floors of exhibitions with a spiral staircase separating the floors and a gift shop at the entrance. On the main floor there are interesting interactive exhibitions such as the Shapes of Space that show how different shapes fit together on a curved surface. I was not too sure what the point of it was, but the kids seemed to enjoy it and it was interesting to see how they connected. The Square wheeled Trike was interesting as you rode a square wheeled type of bike on a bumpy surface to check velocity. The kids and young parents really liked this.
The “Shapes of Space” exhibition
The displays I enjoyed on the main floor were Motionscape, where you had to walk as fast as you could on the track to check the relationship between velocity, your position and acceleration. It was interesting to see how your body movements when walking affects the way you react. The other display that was really popular was Hoop Curves which was always busy. The exhibit used statistics and a robot arm to shoot the basketball. The kids got a real kick out of this when trying to make a basket.
On the lower level, there were more interactive displays along with an explanation of the math along with the creators of the theory. I found that interesting because you could see who all the mathematicians were who the projects were based on or who had contributed to them.
One of the interactive displays that I enjoyed was the Tessellation Station, where you could create displays with magnetic tiles on a large board. Later I learned about Tessellation as a form of making shapes fit together in a pattern and then the theory behind that. It was a fun way to use your creativity.
The “Tessellation Station” exhibition is a lot of fun
Another was the Tree of Life, where the computer copied the movements of myself and then used them to show the how I moved my arms and legs in a pattern. It was funny to see myself repeated over and over again like a tree with branches. It really did measure the movement of my body.
The Twist and Roll display showed how to put different shapes and sizes together and show their movement on the board. The one display that all the kids got a kick out of was the Math Board, where the colors and shapes of the section of the floor lit up when you walked on them and was controlled by the way you walked on them.
The “Math Board”
The Museum of Mathematics is a great museum for younger children who want to get physical and have a good time and like the interaction. I learned a few things too about the fundamentals of math and some of its background theories.
Still, it is a great museum for kids under the age of twelve and their younger parents. I think anything over that age would warrant a trip to the American Museum of Natural History or the Liberty Science Center with more exhibits that are age appropriate. It is a museum you should visit once or twice with small children who are at the learning stage and just want to have fun.
The History of the National Museum of Mathematics:
(From the museum website)
The National Museum of Mathematics began in response to the closing of a small museum of mathematics on Long Island, the Goudreau Museum. A group of interested parties (the “working group”) met in August 2008 to explore the creation of a new museum of mathematics-one that would go well beyond the Goudreau in both its scope and methodology. The group quickly discovered that there was no museum of mathematics in the United States, and yet there was a incredible demand for hands0n math programming.
Accomplishments to date include: opening Manhattan’s only hands-on science center, welcoming more than one million visitors; creating the popular Math Midway exhibition, which has delighted millions of visitors at museums throughout the United States and internationally; leading math tours in various U.S. cities; running dozens of Math Encounters and Family Fridays events; delivering a broad array of diverse and engaging programs for students, teachers, and the public to increase appreciation of mathematics and creating the largest public outdoor demonstration of the Pythagorean Theorem ever.
Mathematics illuminates the patterns that abound in our world. The National Museum of Mathematics strives to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics. Its dynamic exhibits and programs stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity and reveal the wonders of mathematics. The Museum’s activities lead a broad and diverse audience to understand the evolving, creative, human and aesthetic nature of mathematics.