The Guggenheim Museum | The COMPLETE Guide

A masterpiece in and of Itself

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The Guggenheim Museum on 5th Avenue in NYC is an architectural masterpiece. Founded in 1939 it is the original of five Guggenheim Museums. We explored the museum for you to let you know what makes it so very special.

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History of the Guggenheim Museum

The building, designed by famous architect Frank Lloyed Wright, was built in the shape that likens a huge cup made of concrete. It was built in memory of Solomon R. Guggenheim, a collector of modern art and avant-garde art. He would show his private collection to others in his apartment since 1929. In 1937 he founded the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which allowed him by the state of New York, to run a museum officially.

Without further ado, the forerunner of Guggenheim Museum was founded on 24th East Street. It was called the Museum of Non-Objective-Painting. In 1943 Frank Lloyd Wright got the order to design the Guggenheim Museum. His plans weren’t put into practice until 1956-1959. The Museum was influenced by Thomas M. Messer, who ran the museum as a director since 1961 for 27 years. He extended the collection and worked on the reputation of the museum. The worldwide excellent reputation of the Guggenheim was for the most part due to Thomas M. Messer.

The architect and his masterpiece

Frank Lloyed Wright produced over 700 sketches of the museum to create it’s construction, so often called “the temple of spirit”. The main feature is a spiral ramp leading all the way up to a domed skylight. The open rotunda afforded viewers the unique possibility of seeing several bays of work on different levels simultaneously and even to interact with guests on other levels. The fact that the museum is located next to Central Park, was very important for Wright, because he liked the idea of being surrounded by inspiration nature and a beautiful atmosphere. Central Park has the function as a spot for breaks, relaxing and enjoying the quiet area of the Big Apple – a necessary break from all the noise.

The collection of the Guggenheim Museum

Beginning with Solomon R. Guggenheim’s founding collection of abstract art, the museum’s holdings have been augmented and strengthened over the years by Karl Nierendorf’s important German and Austrian Expressionist works, Justin K. Thannhauser’s Impressionist, Post-Impressionist pieces and many more. Other important additions to the permanent collection have included major donations from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation’s photographic collection as well as contemporary work of video, film and installation art from Bohen Foundation. The result is a multi-layered international collection featuring masterpieces from nearly all modern art movements and contemporary art movements from the late 19th-century to the present day and age.

My tip: Check out article with the Best Art Exhibitions in New York City

Relaxing in Café 3

On the third floor, you can enjoy the view of Central Park with a glass of wine, a soft drink, some food, or a coffee. Open daily from 10:30 am – 5 pm.

Shopping at Guggenheim Museum

If you’re looking for some gifts or souvenirs this museum’s shop is a good place to go. The Guggenheim’s shop of the is considered as the best museum’s shop in New York City. Here you will find some very rare and interesting art books, great art printings of the museum’s artwork and a lot of other creative gift ideas.


Tickets for the Guggenheim Museum can be bought online. You don’t have to wait in line and have direct access to the museum.

My Budget tip: The tickets for the Solomon Guggenheim Museum is part of many sightseeing passes of New York City. Which one is the best for you? Check out my article with the complete New York Pass Comparison here!

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My conclusion

Guggenheim Museum in NYC: Is it worth visiting?

Art lovers will especially enjoy this place. The architecture itself is worth it and also a reason for visiting. Especially when you’re the owner of the New York Pass the museum is included and close by the main sights in New York. It’s a great experience- enjoy!

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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