Guide to visiting the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)
Give me MoMath! …said no one ever.
Ok maybe you’ve said it if you’re a math genius. Anyways…while I was taking a stroll through Madison Square Park one day, an intriguing “MoMath” sign caught my attention through all the trees and grass, and so I wondered — what is this MoMath sign all about?
Upon further inspection I realized that I had actually stumbled into a museum! Not just any regular museum either, this was The National Museum of Mathematics. I just had to know what type of mathematical sorcery awaited me beyond those doors, so let the journey begin…
Begin with planning
After some quick research online I found out that The National Museum of Mathematics or MoMath is a museum dedicated solely to the study of mathematics. It opened in December 2012 and is apparently the only such museum in North America.
MoMath also contains over thirty interactive exhibits in a very family friendly atmosphere. The mission of the museum is to “enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics”.
Picking the Right Day and How Long Should I Stay?
The Museum is open from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, seven days a week. My visit took place on a Monday morning shortly after opening. I would say it was most crowded from noon to about 2pm, but overall there was plenty of room to check out each exhibit.
This museum seems to be very popular with schools, and I saw several class trips taking place during my visit. Overall, I would say you can plan a visit here without much fuss.
For a typical weekday visit, I would recommend about 2 to 4 hours.
Note: According to their website, the museum closes early at 2:30 pm on the 1st Wednesday of every month!
Should I Buy an Online Ticket?
I purchased my ticket at the door since I was already in Madison Square Park. However, tickets can be purchased in advance on the Museum website and feature an online discount here.
Here are the current general ticket prices online for reference:
Adults – $17.00
Seniors (60, ID required) – $14.00
Students (with valid student ID) – $14.00
Child (Age 12 & under) – $14.00
Toddler (Age 2 & under) – $0.00
Location, Location, Location
MoMath is located at 11 East 26th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues) in Manhattan, New York. It sits directly across from Madison Square Park in the NoMad neighborhood in a very accessible location. Personally, I took the 6 train to the 28th St station and took a short walk down to Madison Avenue and East 26th Street. Here’s a list of other nearby transportation options in the area.
When traveling around Manhattan I definitely recommend taking advantage of NYC’s extensive public transportation system, the yellow sea of taxis or your favorite ride-sharing app. There are many parking garages in the area for your convenience if you prefer to drive, but be warned, they are usually a bit pricey!
Notes and Tips:
- The website states, “No refunds are available on advance ticket purchases for any reason, including partial closings or periods of free admission; however, tickets may be used for up to nine months.”
- Closed-toe shoes are required to enjoy fully all of MoMath’s offerings.
- All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
- No unaccompanied minors will be eligible for general admission nor will they be admitted to Museum events.
- To arrange for field trips or group visits, you can inquire here.
While At The Museum
MoMath has a solid lineup of ongoing events, all of which can be found here. Personally, I checked out the temporary “Solid Math” exhibition, located in the Composite gallery, which was free with my admission.
The Solid Math exhibit is described as, “The art of shape, form, and structure”. The sculptures are based on Platonic, Archimedean, and Catalan polyhedra geometries. Each piece blends together a combination of precision, symmetry and mathematical elegance.
Watch Out For Museum Fatigue…Or Not?
“Museum fatigue” is a phenomenon that a visitor can feel in which their interest decreases gradually as the visit progress. More on this topic can be found in our MET Museum guide here.
In this case, I feel that museum fatigue won’t really be a problem for most visitors. Since the exhibits are interactive and hands-on, they keep you engaged in the fun of learning about them. In contrast, you may have to be on the lookout for plain ole’ fatigue instead.
Feeling Hungry Yet?
As is the case with any good trip, you’ll eventually find yourself on the hunt for some good food. Here’s a little list of popular places to eat in the area for you to check out.
- Snowfox (a personal favorite)
“Bright & modern counter serve offering sushi, ramen & other Japanese dishes for dine-in or takeout. “
- BLACKBARN Restaurant
Its right next door to the museum and features “locally sourced, upscale American cuisine served in a barn-inspired setting with a chef’s table.”
- Shake Shack (in Madison Square Park)
“Hip, counter-serve chain for gourmet takes on fast-food classics like burgers & frozen custard.”
“Asian-inspired & Japanese chain restaurant where dishes are whisked to long communal tables”
- Eataly NYC Flatiron
“Branch of the famed Italian market, offering counters, restaurants & cooking demos.”
“Mexican-barbecue menus & cocktails combine at this lively, casual spin-off of a popular food truck.”
- Dig Inn
“NYC-based eatery serving seasonal, thoughtfully sourced bowls, plates, salads & more.”
After Your Visit
“Additions” is the official shop of the National Museum of Mathematics. It’s located on the main floor adjacent to the lobby. In it you’ll find tons of awesome gifts from educational, quirky, to downright fun to play with — even glow in the dark soap! Take the opportunity to pick up a unique souvenir to remember your trip.
Pretty much every exhibition area is an opportunity for a selfie or family photo in this place. You can also check out the museum’s photo gallery to get a feel for the environment in this museum.
Don’t forget that Madison Square Park is located right across the street, the park’s center and pathways make for amazing photos with the contrasting skyscrapers and even the MoMath in the background.
Share Your Experience!
Take the opportunity to share your experience with others so they can learn more and plan trips to visit as well. There are bound to be some exhibits you enjoyed interacting with more than others. Tell us what your favorite was, or perhaps you learned something that completely blew your mind away.
This museum is a great experience for families, kids, and adults (who are always kids at heart). MoMath is definitely in my favorite’s list and I plan to return soon with some friends and family!
For more information, visit momath.org
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