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Westchester Museums: 9+ can’t miss spots

The Sculpture garden at Katonah Museum

I’m always on a mission to explore more of Westchester County, NY. There is an abundance of Westchester Museums in the area and they are not all about art.

Contrary to popular belief, a museum does not have to be boring and only filled with older oil paintings. Many museums are not housed in plain-looking buildings but are in historic homes and enchanting spaces. This is what makes them interesting and unique.

Lyndhurst Mansion is on the list of must see Westchester Museums you must visit

Why are Westchester Museums so interesting?

Westchester County, NY is a very large area to cover. Its close proximity to NYC makes it an ideal place for a day trip from the city. Museums in Westchester County house an abundance of magnificent items that are too precious to be missed.

Although I lived in Westchester County, NY most of my adult life, I did not experience all the county has to offer until I started writing this blog.

I was surprised to learn that there are so many great places to visit that are considered ‘museums’. These include:

  • History Museums
  • Art Museums
  • Sculpture Parks
  • Historic Homes
  • Children’s Museum
  • And so much more!

INFORMATION ABOUT VISITING WESTCHESTER MUSEUMS:
> Many of these Westchester Museums are open seasonally. Please check individualized websites for updated information
> Check website information for special events taking place

If you’re considering exploring Westchester Museums, make sure to keep reading because I’m highlighting 9+ that you can’t miss.


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ART & SCULPTURE PARKS

Donald M Kendall Sculpture Gardens, Purchase, NY

Located on the grounds of the Pepsico corporate headquarters in Purchase, NY, this sculpture garden houses enchanting pieces of art.

Donald M Kendall, a former CEO, envisioned this wonderful sculpture garden and made sure that the sculptures were in line with the landscape.

The Sculpture Gardens are open seasonally – End of March through the end of October.

Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden

Located in North Salem, NY, the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden is open to the public from April through November.

For a small entrance fee ($5 for adults – Children under 12 yrs old are free), you can marvel at Japanese art in the gallery and take a stroll in the over 3-acre Japanese garden.

Katonah Museum of Art

Visitors to Katonah Museum of Art

Open year-round for visitors, the Katonah Museum of Art is the home to superb artwork that changes periodically. In addition, to the galleries filled with art, the Katonah Museum of art has a sculpture garden.

For a $10 admission for adults and $5 for students (Children under 12 yrs are free), you can explore the amazing artwork both inside and outside of the museum. In addition, their Learning Center offers children workshops throughout the year.


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Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art

Open year-round, this wonderful museum in the historic city of Peekskill, NY is open from Thursday through Sunday. They offer an amazing opportunity for visitors to experience multi-media art.

In addition to the current exhibits, The HV MOCA offers special programs for children and adults.

HISTORIC HOMES

Jay Heritage Center

The 1838 Jay Mansion is open from the beginning of April through the end of October on Sundays only from 2 pm – 5 pm. There is ongoing restoration taking place on the first floor of the mansion.

The 1907 Carriage House is open year-round on select days of the week. The carriage house is home to the visitor’s center, as well as, several exhibits.

Tours are free (suggested donation of $10). This National Historic Landmark is a treasure that showcases the history of our nation through their exhibits.

John Jay Homestead

Located in Katonah, NY, this historic home is open year-round to visitors. The grounds are open and free while the tours are $10 for adults, $7 for students and children under 12 yrs are free.

Although the Bedford House is open all year, the Carriage Barn, Education Center and Discovery Centers are closed from November through April.

In order to take advantage of the entire property, it is advised to visit between May and October. The historic house’s interior has been restored to reflect its appearance during John Jay’s lifetime. 

Lyndhurst Mansion

Lyndhurst Mansion is on the short list of Westchester Museums

Located in Tarrytown, NY, Lyndhurst is open from April through December for tours. They offer three (3) distinct tours that are both educational and unique. Not only does this marvelous 19-room mansion host historical tours, but it also is the home to several theatrical productions throughout the year.

Although there is a $5 car fee for admission to the grounds, that price may be credited to a tour ticket. The grounds are open year-round from 9 am – 5 pm.

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

Located in Tarrytown, NY, Sunnyside is open seasonally and delights the visitors who explore it. The author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” created this charming estate.

Tours take place during the week and on the weekends, beginning in May.

CHILDREN’S

Westchester Children’s Museum

The sign at the Westchester Children's Museum

Located on the boardwalk of the Historic Rye Playland, the Westchester Children’s Museum is a special place for children. Here, children are encouraged to explore with an array of hands-on activities.

For a fee of less than $10 per person, children and adults have the opportunity to discover exhibits focusing on science, math and the arts. The children’s museum is open year-round and is accessible by car or Metro-North train.

NATURAL HISTORY

Trailside Nature Museum

Located at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, this museum is one of the oldest of its kind in the United States. Open year-round (days and hours vary according to season), the Trailside Nature Museum showcases animals, artifacts, art and so much more.

For a small parking fee, you can enjoy the museum, as well as the Delaware Indian Research Center. During the summer months, the meadow attracts many species of butterflies. Bird watching is also another popular activity in this area.

HISTORIC CHURCH

St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site

Stained glass windows from a church
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com

Located in Mount Vernon, NY, this Historic Church played a key role in history. Housing one of the oldest working organs in the United States, St. Paul’s Church served as a hospital for the British Army during the Revolutionary War Battle of Pell’s Point in 1776.

From early January through late June, the site will be open Monday to Friday and also be open the second Saturday of each month. From early July through late-December, the site will be open Tuesday through Saturday. They offer free guided tours.


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About Author

Jackie is the HV blogger behind Hudson Valley Exposed, featuring the hottest things to do, places to see and weekend getaways. Get information from a local who is seeing it all! She lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region with her hubby, kids, and doggies.

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