Discover dynamic education programs and curriculum resources about the history of our city, state, and nation.
“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”
–John F. Kennedy
What does it mean to become an American? In partnership with CUNY’s Citizenship Now!, we’ve launched The Citizenship Project, a major initiative to help the more than one million legal immigrants in the New York region become American citizens through free civics and American history classes and other educational and digital learning tools. Applications for U.S. citizenship have dramatically increased over the last year—the Citizenship Project offers a unique avenue for addressing this growing demand, assisting future citizens with the naturalization exam, and serving the needs of our community. By using art and objects from our collection to put American history in context, the Citizenship Project creates a personal and dynamic educational experience beyond rote memorization.
The New-York Historical Society is committed to telling the American story and fostering a community of learners to consider what it means to be an American, past and present. For more than a decade, New-York Historical has hosted naturalization ceremonies at the Museum, celebrating new American citizens as they join our nation, and our exhibitions, programs, and educational initiatives delve into our nation’s history and explore issues such as American government, immigration, culture, and civics.
Join us for free classes, educational programs, special installations, and family activities that examine the basic principles of our American Constitution and democratic institutions.
FREE CLASSES FOR GREEN CARD HOLDERS
Since summer 2017, free civics and history classes are available to help green card holders prepare for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization exam. Courses take place on-site at the New-York Historical Society on Saturdays and weekday evening. In addition, New-York Historical offers off-site classes at community organizations and schools across the five boroughs. Through these courses, made possible by generous grants from the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the New York Community Trust, participants learn about pivotal moments in U.S. history by examining objects and documents from our collections.
New Courses Start This Spring
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 - 8pm
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am - 12pm
Saturdays, 10am - 4pm
To pre-register for a course, click here to fill out our pre-registration form.
Download this information in additional languages using the links below.
ONLINE QUIZ: THINK YOU COULD PASS THE NATURALIZATION EXAM?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization exam comprises 10 random questions chosen from a total of 100—can you answer just six correctly? Take our online quiz to find out!
This quiz features questions from the naturalization exam paired with objects from our Museum and Library collections to create key connections and context in American history using object-based learning.
PUBLIC PROGRAMS AND TALKS
A host of programs all year long featuring historians and experts explore what it means to be an American, from immigration issues to the concepts and ideals that founded our nation to the future of our justice system and government.
Watch and listen to select video and audio from our archive of public programs—including a recent program on immigration and voting rights and how America protects the civil and political rights of newcomers.
Walk through Museum galleries guided by an engaging Scavenger Hunt that tests your knowledge of American history and civics, finding objects from America’s past and learning about the subjects tested on the naturalization exam. Test questions and answers are also displayed on an interactive tablet by the lobby’s elevator. Plus, become a History Detective and discover immigration history through games, sketching, and activities with specially designed briefcases housing “detective supplies.” Learn more.
Fun programs throughout the year introduce kids to a range of topics throughout American history, from unique Living History activities that make the past come alive through reenactors, to our monthly Reading into History Family Book Club and other regular program series that challenge young readers to explore U.S. history. See the full schedule of family programs.
New Americans Children's History Book Prize
In addition to our annual Children's History Book Prize, this year we're pleased to recognize a new award that speaks to history, issues, and personal stories of immigrants in the United States. The inaugural winner, It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas, is a unique portrait of a young Iranian girl’s adjustment to life in this country as she and her family face prejudice. Learn more about the New Americans Children's History Book Prize and this year's winner.
EXHIBITIONS AND DISPLAYS
Join us to ponder what it means to be an American through a series of exhibitions and installations, including The Vietnam War: 1945-1975, exploring how Americans responded in a multitude of ways to one of the most controversial events in our country's history, and American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life and Times, highlighting public and private moments in the life of one our nation's most charismatic leaders.
On view in the Patrica D. Klingenstein Library, New-York Historical explores what it means to be an American citizen through a slection of documents and manuscripts from its extensive collection, charting the changes to eligibility for United States citizenship and what has stayed the same: the act of petitioning or applying for citizenship, taking an oath of allegiance to the United States, and receiving a document that certifies citizenship.
Through these special installations and our new, unprecedented Center for Women's History, we're proud to lead the way in spotlighting the vital role that women citizens have played in shaping the United States. Past installations such as We the People and Messages for our President-Elect encourage visitors to consider and share their own perceptions of what it means to be an American and roles in democracy. Past exhibitions such as The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World and Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion examined the American experience from the immigrant perspective. Learn more about our exhibitions.