South Street Seaport Museum Winter Exhibitions Opening December 4, 2021

The South Street Seaport Museum announces the opening of two winter exhibitions exploring the turn of the century in downtown Manhattan on December 4, 2021 at 12 Fulton St. The exhibitions include a new introductory gallery South Street and the Rise of New York, as well as a newly reconfigured return of the popular Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914, which was last on view prior to the pandemic. Each exhibition will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 5pm, except December 24, 2021 – January 2, 2022 when the Museum will be closed for the holidays. Admission is free, and advanced timed tickets can be reserved at

“We are very pleased to present these exhibitions to Museum visitors, offered free to the public, and inside for the first time since March of 2020. Building on the successes of free admission to our 2021 Season of Open Days, these exhibitions provide further insight into the rise of New York through the lens of the Seaport Museum’s collection,” said Capt. Jonathan Boulware, President and CEO of the South Street Seaport Museum.

South Street and the Rise of New York explores the critical role played by the Seaport and South Street in securing New York’s place as America’s leading city and its rise to become the world’s busiest port by the start of the 20th century. The exhibition draws from the Seaport Museum’s vast collection of works or art and artifacts via large reproduction and selected artifacts on display related to the 19th century history of the Port of New York.

“New York has one of the best natural harbors in the world,” said guest curator Michael R. Harrison. “This amazing harbor allowed New Yorkers to develop world-wide connections that made the city an economic and cultural powerhouse. The port fostered the city’s energy, and that energy attracted the talent and skill of people from around the world, making New York the most ethnically diverse place on the planet.

The exhibition highlights Schermerhorn Row, the block of warehouses and offices that stand on man-made land reclaimed from the East River between about 1797 and 1807; the Museum’s fleet of historic ships, which tell the story of New York as a great port city through their connections to world commerce, coastal deliveries, and the working harbor; and Bowne & Co., a contemporary re-interpretation of one of the many printing offices that flourished in lower Manhattan in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900–1914 is one of the first exhibitions to examine, side-by-side, the dichotomy between First Class and Third Class passengers aboard ocean liners in the early 20th century. This exhibition features both original and reproduction artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection including ocean liner memorabilia and ephemera, ceramics, and luggage trunks from both immigrants and First Class passengers.

“Ships like Titanic, Olympic, Lusitania, Mauretania, Aquitania, and Imperator dominated transatlantic travel,” noted William Roka, former Historian at the Seaport Museum. “On each voyage, they transported thousands of people: First Class passengers sailed across the Atlantic in the lap of luxury while Third Class passengers made the voyage in the stuffy lower decks. From 1900 to 1914, nearly 13 million immigrants traveling in Third Class arrived in the United States. During this same period, America’s wealthiest citizens, totaling no more than a hundred thousand passengers each year, traveled to Europe in First Class, spending over $11.5 billion (2017) on luxury vacations. Even though First Class and Third Class sailed on the same ships, their journeys were worlds apart.”

The exhibition will familiarize viewers with passenger life aboard ocean liners, the defining differences between travel for wealthy Americans in First Class and future Americans immigrating to the United States in Third Class.

Seaport Museum Memberships start at $50 and help support Museum’s exhibitions, preserve the ships and the collections, grow public programs, and serve over 12,000 students through education initiatives. To join the Museum as a Member, visit

In addition, tall ship Wavertree, lightship Ambrose, and the outdoor exhibition on Pier 16 are continuing to welcome visitors for free on Saturdays and Sundays in December, 11am to 5pm. Visits on Wavertree are self-guided along a set route and will include access to the main deck and quarter deck. Learn how people worked and lived aboard a 19th century cargo sailing vessel, from the captain to the ship’s officers, cooks, and crew. Then visit the cargo hold and stand atop the viewing platform where you can take in the massive main cargo area. Learn more and reserve free timed entry tickets as Visitors on Ambrose can tour the multiple decks of this National Historic Landmark to see the living and working spaces once inhabited by sailors stationed on Ambrose, as well as the special features that allow the ship to fulfill its mission of staying on station, being seen, and being heard. Guided tours of Ambrose will depart at: 11:30am, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, and 4:00pm. Tickets are free for adults and kids. Book your tickets at

South Street and the Rise of New York was curated by Michael R. Harrison, the Obed Macy Research Chair at the Nantucket Historical Association, with the assistance of Martina Caruso, Director of Collections at the Seaport Museum. Exhibition design and art direction by Helen Riegle of HER Design and Christine Picone of Bowne & Co., the Museum’s historic letterpress shop.

Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900–1914 was curated by William Roka, Seaport Museum’s former Historian, and Michelle Kennedy, Collections and Curatorial Assistant, at the Seaport Museum. Exhibition design and art direction by Rob Wilson and Christine Picone of Bowne & Co., the Museum’s historic letterpress shop.

Please note that in accordance with NYC Emergency Executive Order 225, proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose will be required to enter each exhibition for all guests ages 12 and older, and children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult. Proof of vaccination can be provided in the form of a physical immunization card, NY Excelsior Pass app, or the NYC COVID Safe app when you check in at the reception desk at 12 Fulton Street.

Additionally, in accordance with current Federal and New York State COVID-19 guidance, masks are required at all times throughout the Seaport Museum campus. Face coverings are required for employees, and increased cleaning protocols are also in place. Current COVID-19 protocols can be found at

About the South Street Seaport Museum

The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the South Street Seaport Historic District in New York City, preserves and interprets the history of New York as a great port city. Founded in 1967, the Museum houses an extensive collection of works of art and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and education spaces, working nineteenth century print shops, and an active fleet of historic vessels that all work to tell the story of “Where New York Begins.”

South Street Seaport Museum
12 Fulton St
New York
NY 10038

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