Poster House: One of NYC’s Underrated Museums

I’m probably not the only one hesitant to step inside a museum during these times. But a couple of weeks ago, curiosity got the better of my cautiousness and I paid a visit to Poster House in Chelsea, Manhattan. It was the first museum I’d been to since March, and let me tell you, it was, in many ways, a memorable experience.

Poster House COVID subway poster

COVID-19 Precautions

Poster House, like nearly every other museum or attraction in New York, no longer lets visitors waltz through its doors at any time they wish (RIP NYC spontaneity). Before you can place your germ-infested hands on Poster House’s door handles, you have to go to its website and sign up for a time slot. Note: it doesn’t restrict the amount of time you can spend in the museum; it only dictates the time you’re allowed to go in. And like everywhere else in New York, you can’t go inside without wearing a mask. (True to their mission, Poster House uses adorable posters to explain this.)

In terms of precautions, once you’re inside you’ll be greeted by the standard fare of masked employees, hand sanitizer stands, and arrows on the ground to prevent people from running into each other. But this is a non-issue, as there is barely anyone there to run into. Being that I was there on a late Saturday afternoon, I chalk this up to people’s hesitance to do indoor activities and because this museum is only a little over a year old. It’s still a hidden gem.

I spent a little under an hour there, including the time I spent browsing the gift shop, and I felt safe and comfortable the entire time. However, I will admit there were moments I felt creeped out from being the only person in an exhibit room for long chunks of time.

Poster House exhibits

The Exhibits

One of the most genius things about Poster House is that it only has two exhibits on display at a time. I’m not sure if this is by design or if it is because of space limitations, but either way, it makes the museum manageable enough that you can take your time and not worry about not having enough time to see everything, while there aren’t too few exhibits, so you don’t question the admission price. And on top of all this, the exhibits are thorough and chock-full of information. Unlike how I usually feel at most art museums, at Poster House, I’m not just staring at art; I’m provided with enough information to make what I’m seeing more than ink on paper.

As of the time of this writing, two fascinating exhibits are on display: The Sleeping Giant: Posters & The Chinese Economy and The Swiss Grid. The Sleeping Giant exhibit is good for people who like to see how art and history intersect, while The Swiss Grid will appeal to people who like aesthetic minimalism and clean lines. It’s actually rather calming to look at.

Unfortunately, Poster House’s other fun features, where you get to design your own posters and where you get to insert yourself in classic posters, are currently off limits because they are high-touch activities. But that doesn’t make Poster House any less of a good time. Check it out if you’re ready to have some (safe) fun indoors.

Poster House Insert Yourself Into Classic Posters

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