Home Culture How to Spend a Day at The Newark Museum of Art

How to Spend a Day at The Newark Museum of Art

by Jordan and Joelle Hernandez
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Newark, New Jersey has long been a place to visit to honor and celebrate local arts and culture. The Newark Museum of Art (NMOA), located at 49 Washington Street, has been a part of the city’s history for over 100 years and continues to serve the community’s need for artistic expression and cultural exploration. Read on to learn more about the history, current exhibits, and how to spend a day at the Newark Museum of Art.

newark musuem of art

The History

The Newark Museum of Art was founded in 1909 as a part of the Newark Public Library. Founding Director John Cotton Dana believed that museums were a great way to promote the appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of the arts and sciences. He, along with a group of public officials, prominent business people, and local collectors, started the Museum.

The Ivy at Chatham

newark musuem of art

As a part of its mission, NMOA believes in the importance of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion as art is meant for all people to enjoy. The leaders of the Museum have upheld the mission to forge meaningful relationships by ensuring every exhibit is accessible and reflects the diverse makeup of the community.

newark musuem of art

Twenty years after its initial founding, NMOA moved into a new building outside of the library with just two exhibitions, one devoted to art and one to science. Throughout the last century, the NMOA has been known to showcase some of the most highly regarded art and science exhibits and collections in the country.

Read More: Must-Visit Museums in North Jersey

Building a Collection

newark musuem of art

To ensure all perspectives are showcased, John and his team worked tirelessly to engage various stakeholders in the community in the Museum’s exhibition choices. He wanted to make sure American artists, who had long been dismissed in other parts of the world, had a place to shine. One of the Museum’s early exhibitions highlighted the work of New Jersey’s textile and clay industries to benefit the families of skilled laborers. His belief that museums should be a beacon of education and information, like a library, for the public guided the Museum’s choices well after his death in 1929. His successors made sure to place an emphasis on the Black community and children of the city when choosing exhibitions.

newark musuem of art

Through the Great Depression, John’s former assistant, Beatrice Wisner, became director. She used the exhibitions in the Museum to highlight the unprecedented unemployment rates while also hosting workshops on painting, sketching, and drawing for those who were experiencing, what she called, “an excess of forced leisure.” By 1953, the Museum installed the state’s first planetarium, which is still serving attendees to this day.


On View

The NMOA is overflowing with exciting and thought-provoking exhibits for all visitors to enjoy. Now through May 2024, visitors can experience the highly acclaimed Animal Kingdom exhibit on the museum’s third floor. This exhibit has received accolades from major publications and media outlets like Time Out, NJ Monthly, and PBS to name a few. This interactive exhibit teaches about all types of wild and sea life. There’s even an opportunity to color photos of sea life creatures to add to the exhibit. The entire museum has interactive elements throughout.

One of the newest exhibits to come to NMOA is The Story of Newark Fashion: Atelier to Runway — which presents Newark as a center for the fashion industry from the 1950s to today and includes nine contemporary designers with Newark connections. The exhibit is a celebration of Black fashion, beginning in the ateliers and classrooms of Wesley Tann and Emily Miles, who served as mentors for generations of fashion trailblazers to come. 

nmoa newark bridal exhibition

Unexpected Color: A Journey Through Glass is a unique, 360-degree, virtual tour of the scient behind colored glass from the 20th century. The exhibit gives historical context for this art form along with information on the artists. Other, ongoing exhibits include Adama Delphine Fawundu: In the Spirit of Àṣẹ, The Ballantine House, Jewelry of the Southwest, Seeing America: 18th and 19th Centuries, and The Spanish + Caribbean Body, among others. Bony Ramirez: Cattleya is an upcoming exhibit that will open on April 18th, 2024.

The Planetarium

The NOMA also features a 50-seat Planetarium. The Planetarium is currently showing One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, and Eclipse — The Sun Revealed. One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure is a family-friendly show that explores the night sky from Sesame Street with Big Bird, Elmo, and their friend Hu Hu Zhu as they learn about the Big Dipper, the North Star, the Sun, and the Moon. Eclipse — The Sun Revealed is for ages 12 and up and journeys through the historical and cultural views of eclipses, discovers how they occur, shows how to safely view them, and explains first-hand accounts of these celestial events.

The shows combine a pre-recorded video along with an interactive lesson from a Museum staff member. Viewers can look up at the simulated night sky to get a close-up of constellations and planets. Be sure to check the museum schedule when arriving for showtimes and updates on the featured presentation.

History woven into the arts and sciences is what visitors can always expect from the Newark Museum of Art. Be sure to check out the gift shop and café on the way out for the full experience.

See More: All About The Hoboken Historical Museum

Visiting the Museum

The NMOA welcomes thousands of guests each year. The museum is located at 49 Washington Street in Newark. It’s easily accessible via ride share from all forms of public transportation to Newark Penn Station. The museum is open Thursdays through Sundays from 10AM-11AM for members only and from 11AM-5PM to all visitors. The museum is closed Mondays through Wednesdays and on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The museum is also closed on Federal Holidays except for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth.

newark musuem of art

Admission for adults is $10 and children, students, senior citizens (ages 65+), and teachers are $8. Free admission is offered to members, children under two years old, Newark residents, active-duty military, veterans, and their families, and students attending college/university in Newark with a valid ID. Free admission is also available on selected weekends for certain bank or credit card holders and employees and members of selected organizations. To check out the full list to see who qualifies for free admission, click here. Admission to the planetarium is included with museum admission but does have limited seating and runs on a first-come, first-served basis.

read more button

also appears in

0 comment