South Street Seaport Museum
The South Street Seaport Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the rise of New York as a port city. The Museum consists of five ships at Pier 16, a working 19th Century letterpress shop, a fine-gifts store and multiple exhibitions that bring to life New York City's history through its role as a major world port, trade hub and place for cultures to come together. Picturesque cobblestone-lined streets, historic buildings from the early 1800s, exceptional views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights, the tall ship Wavertree and tours on the schooner Pioneer and tugboat W.O.Decker are all on offer for you at this cultural institution.
What you’ll do
Step inside Schermerhorn Row to begin seaport adventure. Purchase tickets, view our exhibitions and visit our historic ships, visit our gift shop and ask a crew member about adding a sailboat ride or tugboat cruise onto your museum admission on our historic vessels that head out into New York Harbor:
- Explore the Collection: The South Street Seaport Museum’s collections include paintings; drawings and prints and photographs; manuscripts and ephemera; ship models; scrimshaw; navigational instruments and shipwright tools; and many historical objects related to trade from the Seaport itself, including those from the Fulton Fish Market, the coffee and tea industry, historic preservation of buildings and ships, and letterpress printing and advertising industry, which supported the growth of New York as a financial powerhouse.
- View our new ongoing exhibit, Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914: Millions will familiarize your group 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, and the continuing importance that immigration plays in American history.
- Visit our Street of Ships: The South Street Seaport Museum is home to a fleet of five historic vessels: the 133 year-old Wavertree, cargo ship and flagship of the Seaport Museum’s fleet, now back from a 13-million dollar, 18-month, city-funded restoration; the Historic National Landmark 1907 lightship Ambrose; schooners Pioneer and Lettie G. Howard, both award-winning sail training vessels; and W.O. Decker, one of the last steam-powered, wooden tugs built in New York.
- Go back in time: Bowne & Co., Stationers, New York’s oldest operating business under the same name. Bowne & Co. was established by Robert Bowne in 1775, and grew as a financial printer throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1975, Bowne & Co. Inc. partnered with the Seaport Museum to open a 19th-century-style print shop at 211 Water Street in the South Street Seaport Historic District. The Bowne & Co., Printing Office continues the age old tradition of job (or small batch) printing. Using seven historic presses from South Street Seaport Museum’s working collection; our resident printers create individual designs using custom plates or historic fonts. Visitors are invited to watch and discuss the history and contemporary relevance of letterpress, buy hand-printed items and order customs prints.
Plan your visit
Educational Group Programs
Our Education Programs inspire kids of all ages with hands-on activities, living history, and the call of the sea. Programs are adaptable for families, after-school sessions, camp outings, team building, adult special interest clubs, professional development for teachers, and more:
- Tall Ship Experiences | Visit Historic Vessels: The South Street Seaport Museum tells the story of how New York’s great natural harbor gave rise to the metropolis we know today: the story of the ships, the people who sailed them, the cargoes they carried, and the businesses that served them. Students experience all this and more, without ever leaving the dock.
- Down by the Docks | Outdoor Land-Based Education Programs: The South Street Seaport Museum tells the story of how New York’s great natural harbor gave rise to the metropolis we know today. Dockside programs combine indoor and outdoor hands-on activities to show how the science of the harbor affects how we live.
- Museum Gallery Sessions | Visit the Museum Indoors: South Street Seaport Museum’s galleries – the artifacts , exhibits, and even the walls themselves – tell the story of the growth of New York from Dutch colonial outpost to thriving metropolis. Students visiting the museum galleries in our 200 year old building go back in time to learn about the past, the present, and the future.
- Sailing | Adventures Under Sail: Sail New York Harbor aboard historic 1885 schooner Pioneer. Students who explore our Harbor estuary under sail increase their environmental awareness of our local natural resources and develop historical perspective on the significant role of the port for our city and our country. Students help raise sail, see the Statue of Liberty and other Harbor landmarks, observe a variety of ships and waterborne commerce, and engage in exciting hands-on activities.
- Group/School Walking Tours | Neighborhood Walks That Teach Local History: The South Street Seaport Museum tells the story of how New York’s great natural harbor gave rise to the metropolis we know today. From Lenape villages, to the early Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, to the growing city of New York, the story of this land through time is the story of the waterfront. Practice your map skills and walk our history!
- Browne & Co. Workshops | Learn Letterpress Printing: Our printing workshops at the Bowne & Co., Printing Offices teach the traditional methods of hand-set type and use our working collection of historic presses. Once used for documenting marine trade, we now use them for contemporary projects.
Group Birthday Parties
Come celebrate your child’s birthday at the South Street Seaport Museum with an interactive experience they won’t forget! Our birthdays are generally designed to be age appropriate for the birthday child, but guests of all ages will enjoy the fun.
- For children aged 1-5, we host our parties in our miniMates play-space.
- Children 6 and up can board the South Street Seaport Museum’s largest artifact, the tall ship Wavertree and have a party on her main deck.
- For children 9 and up, charter our historic schooner Pioneer for a celebratory sail of New York’s Harbor!
Click here to learn more and to contact us to book!
Charters and Special Sails
Pioneer is host to charters and special sails during her season. Click here for more information about Pioneer sailing and volunteer opportunities, as well as special events and programs.
Where is it
- Take the A, C, 2, 3, J, Z, 4, or 5 train to Fulton Street.
- Upon exiting, walk east on Fulton Street until you reach the museum. Depending on where you exit, the walk takes between 8 and 15 minutes.
- Take the M-15 SBS or M-15 to Fulton Street. Note: On the M-15 SBS, you must pay at the bus stop before boarding. Walk one block East.
- Water Taxi and Circle line stop at the Museum’s Pier 16
- The East River Ferry, Water Taxi, and New York Waterway provide service to Pier 11 from Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey.
- From Pier 11, walk north on South Street for about 5 minutes.
- Once at Fulton Street, turn left. The Visitor Center (12 Fulton Street) is about a half block west.
- From the Staten Island Ferry, the museum is about a mile walk Northeast on Water or South Street.
- Parking in the area is limited. There is a parking lot located at Front and John Streets, just one block from the museum.
- Another lot is available at 294 Pearl Street.
Hours & Schedule
General Admission: 12 Fulton Street I Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm I Open all Year
Includes all exhibitions, Bowne & Co., Printers, Wavertree and Ambrose (by tour)
W.O. Decker and Pioneer sail season, May–October
Bowne & Co. Stationers
A Gift & Fine Goods Emporium I Free
211 Water St. | Daily | 11am to 7pm
Things to keep in mind
Reservations and advance payment are required for all Group Programs.
In addition to Group Visits to the Museum, for School Groups a Residency Program is Offered. Complement your field trip to South Street Seaport Museum with programs brought into your classroom. Our educators come to you bringing customized activities and hands-on lessons to support your curriculum and prepare your students for their field trip. Special access programs are designed for the needs of visually impaired students and students on the autism spectrum.
- Boats: what makes them float? A study of buoyancy
- Sailboats: what makes them go? A study of wind
- Estuary Life: What lives in New York Harbor and why?
- Time and Tides: What causes tides and how they affect estuary life
- Cargo: how do you build a boat to carry cargo? Then how do you load a boat so it works the best?
- Salt or fresh? Compare salt and fresh water and discover why it matters
- Mathematical navigation: Use navigational tools and basic geometry to learn how to plot a course
- Seaport Players: Explore maritime history through student-created theater
- Map Your World: Students work with the science, social studies, and art of map-making
- Ink, Roll, and Pull: Students learn print-making techniques and the art, science, and social studies of printing