If you’re looking for things to do in New York this winter, museums in NYC feature must-see exhibitions. With a focus on pop culture and ancient history, these three New York City exhibitions are great for all ages. And they’re indoors, which is perfect for days when it’s a little colder than you might like.
The Discovery of King Tut
If you were lucky enough to get tickets to the King Tut exhibition in the 1970s or the later 2009-2010 tour, you’ll remember the glinting golden artifacts that came from the boy king’s tomb. Those earlier tours displayed around 50 tomb artifacts each, the maximum the Egyptian government would allow out of the country.
The Discovery of King Tut exhibition just opened, and while you won’t see 3,300-year-old objects, you will be stunned by more than 1,000 accurate reproductions sanctioned by the Egyptian antiquities department. You’ll start off watching a movie about archaeologist Howard Carter and the discovery of the tomb, made after six seasons of digging in the Valley of Kings, which was thought not to contain any additional tombs. Imagine the world’s surprise as Carter’s 1922 discovery uncovered a mostly intact tomb filled with everything necessary for a kingly afterlife. The antechamber alone held 700 items, from disassembled chariots to food packages to thrones. You’ll marvel at the four full-scale golden nesting shrines, the largest of which is 17 feet long and nine feet high, covered in luminescent faience and golden designs. Inside the tomb were a sarcophagus, three caskets, and Tut’s body.
The Discovery of King Tut is at the new Premier Exhibitions on 5th Avenue.
Saturday Night Live
What better place to relive the 40-year history of Saturday Night Live than a few blocks from Rockefeller Center? Whether you grew up with Saturday Night Live or you’re coming to it later, this exhibition will make you laugh. You’ll enter the doors of the faux Studio 8H and walk the red carpet into a week in the life of the Saturday Night Live cast and crew. You’ll pause in each room, as televisions broadcast segments ranging from Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations with Michael Jordan, to Opera Man, to the Church Lady. You’ll learn how skits are pitched and assigned, how the sets are created in only days (and broken down into smaller pieces to fit in the 30 Rock elevator), and how the prosthetics, like the cone heads, are made. You’ll laugh when seeing familiar costumes like the Spartan Cheerleaders, Hans and Franz’s “pump you up” outfits, and Mary Catherine Gallagher’s school outfit.
Perhaps the best part is the chance to wow your friends with pictures of you on the Wayne’s World couch on the actual set, or snaps of you standing behind Turd Ferguson’s Jeopardy podium. For a surprise at the end, pose for a photo on the Seth Meyers’s Weekend Update desk. Your friends will all be jealous, but they can head to Premier Exhibitions to check it out themselves.
Star Wars and the Power of Costume
The Met may have its Costume Institute, but Discovery Times Square has Star Wars and the Power of Costume. This exhibition is one of the best things to do in New York and it will give you fun facts to share with your cinephile friends. Inside, you’ll see 70 costumes that came from the first six movies, and even some from the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens (like the adorable droid). It’s not costumes—you’ll also see how the artistic vision was paired with character development and the storyline. Highlights include Dark Vader’s mask, Chewbacca, and of course Princess Leia’s bikini.
Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those museums in NYC where you just look at the art. You can activate the lightsabers, touch swatches of the fabrics, and listen to iconic Star Wars music in several of the displays. You’ll have fun at the interactive station at the end, where full-length mirrors allow you to bring characters to life with your movements. Hint: Try being Darth Vader—you get to use a light saber!