What to See and Do at the Museum of the Moving Image
A visit to Queens for this unique museum is well worth the trip.
Manhattan has its big players — the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA — and its chic downtown spots — the newly opened Whitney Museum of American Art, Bowery’s New Museum — but what do the outer boroughs of New York City have to offer when it comes to museums?
Queens, for one, is home to the Museum of the Moving Image, the country’s only museum dedicated to the topic.
Located in Astoria, a neighborhood in northwestern Queens that’s home to a vibrant immigrant community, the Museum of the Moving Image is a film buff’s paradise. Originally opened in 1988, the museum’s mission is to house and exhibit a wide array of artifacts that pertain to film, television, and digital media.
The site of the museum is in one of the former buildings of the Astoria Studio complex: the East Coast production facility of Paramount. An architectural redesign started in 2008 was completed with the museum’s reopening in 2011 to a cinematically inspired space full of cool blue lighting and a sleek geometric floor plan.
The museum hosts more than 400 screenings each year that showcase everything from the classic to the contemporary. “Behind the Scene,” the museum’s ongoing exhibition delves into the many facets of how visual entertainment is created. Visitors can find historic cameras and projectors, along with examples of set design and costumes, in addition to one of the largest collections of video games.
Perhaps one of the most unique permanent installations is Tut’s Fever, a movie-theater-meets-art installation, created by Red Grooms and Lysiane Luong. The theater recalls the height of 1920s grandeur and is adorned with depictions of Egyptian royalty and Hollywood icons. Be on the lookout for the daily movie showing.
Past exhibits have included explorations into the days of Astoria as a movie set to profiles on the likes of David Letterman. Today, the Pinewood Dialogues continues to draw both industry and non-industry folks. These are panel discussions with creative influencers, which have featured the likes of Martin Scorsese and Glenn Close.
The Museum of the Moving Image is open Wednesday through Sunday. Wednesday and Thursday hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (with free admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.), and Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.