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Culture Hacks: NYC's Enhanced Museum Experiences You Don't Want to Miss

May 4, 2017 - by Chelsey Grasso
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New York City is chock-full of museums, but sometimes it’s difficult to navigate them all without feeling totally overwhelmed. Want a solution? You’ll find it in any one of these five museum hacks. From Harry Potter-inspired tours to an interactive reenactment with tenants of an 1800s-apartment building, these enhanced museum experiences will keep you fascinated while they educate and entertain.

“Un-Highlights Tour” at the American Museum of Natural History (Upper West Side)

Museum Hack offers an array of out-of-the-norm museum tours for those wanting to experience New York City’s finest establishments in a unique way. The “Un-Highlights Tour” at the American Museum of Natural History will guide you through the enormous collection while filling you in on the history behind all of the animal displays (including the “badass adventurers that collected them”) and share some of the museum’s “dirty little secrets” in the process. A fun time is sure to be had by all! Central Park West 79th St., 347-282-5001, museumhack.com

Griffins, Goblets and Gold: A Wizarding Tour” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Upper East Side)

An interior view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Enjoy the Met via “Cabbages and Kings,” showing families a new way to explore museums through iconic children’s books, like this Harry Potter-inspired tour for visitors who get to look at art objects that represent those in the books. Aptly titled “Griffins, Goblets and Gold,” the tour also includes a mini visual scavenger hunt for horcrux-like objects throughout the museum. It's just one offered by e.t.c., a tailored events company that will be back this June to premiere “Mixed-Up at the Met,” launching on the 50th anniversary of the classic children’s book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. July brings the launch of “Here There Be Dragons,” a tour that looks at creatures inspired by both Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts, as well as other fantasy books like The Golden Compass. 917-513-4081, events@etccustomevents.com, etccustomevents.com

“Shady Ladies” and “Nasty Women” Tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Upper East Side)

If the Harry Potter tour mentioned above wasn’t up your alley, then perhaps the “Shady Ladies” and “Nasty Women” Tours offered by Shade Ladies Tours will be. Both tours take place at the Met, focusing in on the courtesans, royal mistresses, nonconventional female artists, and lady political figures who slept, protested, and even poisoned their way to the top. There’s nothing pure about these tours, but there’s everything interesting. 1000 Fifth Ave., shadyladiestours.com

“The All Hands on Deck Scavenger Hunt” at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum (Midtown West)

Make your way through the Intrepid’s mess hall belowdecks, passageways, cockpits, and remaining corridors while you search for the answers to hilarious (and puzzling!) questions while watching film footage of the Intrepid during its heyday. Watson Adventures defines its scavenger hunts as “walking tours spiked with caffeine,” and they each last for about two hours—all you need is some comfy walking shoes and a sharpened noggin. W. 46th St. and 12th Ave., watsonadventures.com

“Live! At the Tenement” Tour at the Tenement Museum (Lower East Side)

Watch as the Tenement Museum takes you back in time to meet the residents of 97 Orchard Street during their “Live! At the Tenement” Tour. Visitors will get to interact with actors portraying members of three different families that once occupied the building during the years 1868, 1898, and 1935. Learn about tenants’ daily lives, as well as how their hopes and ambitions collided with the development of the Lower East Side. 103 Orchard St., 877-975-3786, tenement.org

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