Open Memorial Day

The Museum will be open on Monday, May 28, from 10 am – 6 pm.

Join us for an enchanting summer of mesmerizing displays, evening programs, family activities, and free films that offer a historical perspective on the spectacle of magic and the magicians who became famous performing death-defying feats.

Exhibition | Special Events | Evening Programs | Films | Family Programs

EXHIBITION

Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection
June 15 – September 16
Travel to New York’s magical past and discover a world of treasures from the collection of Emmy Award-winning illusionist David Copperfield. Explore the careers and exploits of the legendary magicians that inspired him, see iconic objects used by Harry Houdini, and be amazed by the Death Saw from one of Copperfield’s most famous illusions!

 

Special Events

SPECIAL EVENTS

An Evening with David Copperfield
Saturday, June 16 | 7 pm | $38 (Members $24) 
Magic has the power to inspire, amaze, and make the impossible a reality. How did sleight of hand and grand illusion evolve into one of the most fascinating and intricate performance arts in history? In an illuminating conversation with Congressman Mark Pocan, world-renowned magician David Copperfield uncovers the history of magic from its origins, including well-known figures such as Georges Melies and Harry Houdini.

Houdini Weekend
Friday, July 13 – Sunday, July 15 | Free
Kick off our Summer of Magic with a special weekend exploring the life and work of the legendary Harry Houdini! Join us for films, programs, workshops, and activities for the whole family to learn about the master escape artist—and maybe even try some tricks yourself!

Capturing the Magic Weekend
Friday, August 24 – Sunday, August 26 | Free
All weekend, we’re capturing the magic—of magic! Join us for films, programs, and events for the whole family to learn about magic in New York, from the 19th century to today.

 

Evening Programs

EVENING PROGRAMS

Magic Workshop
Tuesday, July 17, 7–8:30 pm | $25 (Members $23)
Learn some astonishing magic to wow your friends in this 90-minute hands-on magic workshop. No prior magic experience necessary.

The Witch of Lime Street
Wednesday, July 18, 7–8 pm | $10 (Members $8)
Her most vocal advocate was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Her supernatural gifts beguiled many. There was only one left to convince—Harry Houdini! Learn about Houdini’s rival, known as the Witch of Lime Street, and how their lives intersected at a time when science was on the verge of embracing the paranormal.

Parlor Mind Reading
Tuesday, July 24, 7–8:30 pm | $20 (Members $18)
After the Civil War, many New Yorkers turned to Spiritualism to connect with the dead, hosting psychic readings as a form of parlor entertainment. Renowned mentalist Kent Axell takes you back 150 years to experience mind reading, magic, and mystery.

Tragic Magic
Wednesday, July 25, 7–8 pm | $20 (Members $18)
Master magician Joshua Jay explores the strange, fascinating history of the magicians, spectators, and assistants who have died during magic shows in failed escapes, staged suicides, and freak accidents. He’ll even recreate one of Houdini’s most dangerous pieces in this thrilling theatrical presentation. 

Watson Adventures’ "Escape the New-York Historical Society”
Friday, July 20, 6–8 pm | Free with Museum Admission
Bad news: An evil magician has poisoned you! He will provide the antidote—but only if you can solve a series of puzzles throughout the Museum. Join us for this riveting 45-minute game. Created and run by Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts

Women in the Golden Age of Magic
Thursday, August 2, 7–8 pm | $10 (Members $8)
In the 1880s, women exploded into the world of magic when Madame Adelaide Herrmann replaced the traditional boy assistant as the first glamorous female illusion partner. Learn about the fascinating women of magic from noted historian and magician Margaret Steele.

Magic Workshop
Tuesday, August 7, 7–8:30 pm | $25 (Members $23)
Learn some astonishing magic to wow your friends in this 90-minute hands-on magic workshop. No prior magic experience necessary.

Watson Adventures’ "Escape the New-York Historical Society”
Friday, August 10, 6–8 pm | Free with Museum Admission
Bad news: An evil magician has poisoned you! He will provide the antidote—but only if you can solve a series of puzzles involving objects on display in the Museum. Join us for this thrilling 45-minute adventure. Created and run by Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts

The Bowery Boys Magical Mystery Hour
Tuesday, August 14, 7–8:30 pm | $20 (Members $18)
Tom Meyers and Greg Young of The Bowery Boys Podcast conjure up stories of historical wizardry and superstition—and maybe even perform a bit of sleight-of-hand themselves!

Abracadabra to Alchemy: 7000 Years of Magic
Wednesday, August 15, 7–8 pm | $10 (Members $8)
Trace the journey of magic through its exciting and hotly debated formative years—from the performance of the “cup and ball” trick observed in ancient Rome through medieval incantations and potions.

The Psychology of Magic
Thursday, August 16, 7–8:30 pm | $20 (Members $18)
Why do our minds believe the impossible? Magicians Kent Axell and Eric Walton uncover the psychology behind illusion. Witness the impossible—even while knowing you are being artistically deceived!

The Magic Lantern: The Grandfather of Cinema 
Friday, August 24, 5–8 pm | Free 
Artist and filmmaker Joel Schlemowitz demonstrates this Victorian-era storytelling tradition used to produce apparitions that could transport viewers to distant lands, conjure ghosts and spirits, or simply amuse with silly jokes.

 

Films

FILMS

Every Friday 6–8 pm, explore the Museum and enjoy Pay-as-you-wish Friday Nights! Then stick around for free films that explore riveting magical stories.

Houdini (2011)
Friday, July 13, 7–9 pm | Free
Discover the adventurous life of Harry Houdini in this jaw-dropping PBS documentary. Runtime 60 minutes.

Now You See Me (2013)
Friday, July 27, 7–9:30 pm | Free
Four talented magicians mesmerize their audience with a series of bold and original heists. Runtime 115 minutes.

Now You See Me 2 (2016)
Friday, August 3, 7–9:30pm | Free
The Four Horsemen return for a second mind-bending adventure, elevating stage illusion to new heights. Runtime 129 minutes.

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles (2014)
Thursday, August 9, 7–9:30pm | Free
In this riveting documentary, explore the enigmatic life and career of filmmaker Orson Welles. Runtime 95 minutes.

War of the Worlds (2013)
Friday, August 17, 7–8:30 pm | Free
In this fascinating documentary, examine the elements that led to national hysteria when Orson Welles broadcast H.G. Wells’s fantasy The War of the Worlds, using radio, literature, and a convincing voice to create the illusion of reality. Runtime 60 minutes.

The Prestige (2006)
Friday, August 24, 7–9:30 pm | Free
An illusion gone horribly wrong pits two 19th-century magicians against each other in a bitter battle for supremacy. Runtime 130 minutes.

 

Family Programs

FAMILY PROGRAMS

Living History Weekends
Saturdays and Sundays, June 23 – August 26 | Free
For kids and their grown-ups
New York’s magical past comes to life all summer long! Meet historical magicians, fortune-tellers, escape artists, and more marvelous individuals from the past—all portrayed by Living Historians from the present.

History Detective Briefcase: Summer of Magic Edition
Saturdays and Sundays, 1–4 pm| Free with Museum Admission
Young magicians can check out a special Summer of Magic-themed History Detective briefcase in our DiMenna Children's History Museum and use it to explore the exhibition

Meet Summer of Magic’s Opening Act: Harry Houdini!
Saturday, June 16, 11 am – 4 pm | Free with Museum Admission
Celebrate the opening of Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection and shake hands with Harry Houdini—that is, if he can break free from a straitjacket or handcuffs! Portrayed by Duffy Hudson, Houdini shares his incredible life story, performs illusions with playing cards, and manages to swallow—gulp—sharp needles!

Meet an Escape Artist!
Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 | 1–4 pm
Sunday, July 15 | 1–4 pm
Free with Museum Admission
Be amazed by sideshow and variety performer Adam RealMan and his special tribute to Houdini’s escape acts. Get behind-the-curtain tips on how to magicians free themselves from restraints, and marvel as Adam escapes a straitjacket, rope, and handcuffs!

Visit with Vaudeville Magician
Saturday, June 30, and Sunday, July 1, 11 am – 4 pm | Free with Museum Admission
Explore the history of magic in New York  and see classic vaudeville tricks and illusions from the turn-of-the-century performed by Tanya Solomon, a magician and teacher of circus arts.

Meet Harry Houdini!
Saturday, July 7, and Sunday, July 8, 11 am – 4 pm | Free with Museum Admission
Portrayed by Duffy Hudson, Houdini shares his incredible life story, performs illusions with playing cards, and manages to swallow—gulp— sharp needles!

Houdini’s Needle Swallow & More Parlor Magic!
Saturday, July 14, 2018, 12–4 pm | Free with Museum Admission
Step right up to discover parlor magic performed by The Great Dubini! Gasp as he swallows needles in homage to Houdini and marvel at some of the oldest tricks in the history books.

Summer of Magic: Fortune-Tellers
Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, 12–4 pm | Free with Museum Admission
What does the rest of summer have in store for you? Learn what your future will bring by summoning the spirits of illusionists’ past with one of our fortune-tellers from the Golden Age of Magic.

Tales of Magic and the Paranormal in 19th-century New York
Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29 | Performance times vary from 11 am – 4 pm
Free with Museum Admission
Hear incredible tales of 19th-century magicians and Spiritualists from a time when séances, ghosts, and paranormal practices were in vogue—all performed by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk!

Meet Adelaide Hermann, the Queen of Magic!
Saturday, August 4, and Sunday, August 5, 12–1:45 pm and 2:30–4 pm | Free with Museum Admission
What made Adelaide Hermann the Queen of Magic? Don’t miss your chance to see magicienne and scholar Margaret Steele bring some of Madame Adelaide’s tricks from the early 20th century to life!

Summer of Magic: Conjuring Colonial Illusions
Saturday, August 11, and Sunday, August 12, 11 am – 4 pm | Free with Museum Admission
Long before Houdini, Mr. Bayly advertised that he could present feats of magic “without the use of Pockets, Bags, or Sleeves.” Meet the 18th-century magician—portrayed by a Living Historian—who first performed in NYC more than 250 years ago!

Summer of Magic: Learn a Parlor Trick!
Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19, 12– 4 pm | Free with Museum Admission
Want a way to entertain guests? Join parlor magicians from the turn-of-the-century, portrayed by Living Historians, to discover the importance of a flourish and perfectly timed magic word, then try your hand at some mesmerizing tricks!

Visit a Victorian Magic Lantern Show
Saturday, August 25, and Sunday, August 26, 11 am – 4 pm| Free with Museum Admission
What’s a ‘magic lantern’? Examine antique projection equipment and painted glass slides, and see how Victorian lanternists conjured images of spirits, distant lands, and illustrations to entertain New Yorkers in the 19th century, demonstrated by artist and filmmaker Joel Schlemowitz.

Meet Summer of Magic’s Closing Act: Harry Houdini
Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16, 11 am – 4 pm
Free with Museum Admission
Don’t miss the final weekend of Summer of Magic: Treasures from the David Copperfield Collection, and your last chance to shake hands with Harry Houdini! Portrayed by Duffy Hudson, Houdini shares his incredible life story, performs illusions with playing cards, and manages to swallow—gulp—sharp needles!

Creative: Tronvig Group