As a New Yorker, you already know the city is home to some of the most prestigious museums in the world. Here are our top 11 picks for the best exhibits happening in and throughout NYC this summer. By Carly Petrone.

Alexander McQueen

(Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave. New York, NY
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Museum Hours, Tues-Thurs: 9:30am-5:30pm
Fri-Sat: 9:30 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Sun: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The late Alexander McQueen is synonymous with extravagant dresses, feathers, masks, headpieces, vibrant colors, zippers and hats. The public can now see his work up close and personal at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through August 7th. There will probably be a line to get inside this exhibition, but once you walk onto the runway of McQueen you’ll definitely want to take your time examining his intricate work. Organized by The Costume Institute, the exhibit celebrates the life of the avant-garde designer. The museum showcases everything from his postgraduate collection of 1992 to his final runway presentation. It also features over one hundred ensembles and seventy accessories, as well as video and music from various runway shows. Exhibition is free with Museum admission.

Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow (Credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images)

Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St., New York, NY 10019
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Filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker,” “Point Break”) can now add exhibition inside the Museum of Modern Art to her impressive resume. Learn more about this celebrated director and artist at the Crafting Genre: Kathryn Bigelow exhibit going on through October 3rd. Many people are unaware of the fact that she started her career as a painter and conceptual artist at the San Francisco Art Institute as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art. Walk through the process of how she makes a successful film by examining paintings, concept art, film posters, drawings, storyboards, scripts, short films and props that reveal Bigelow’s singular methods and motifs. A film retrospective in MoMA’s theaters accompanies the gallery installation.

Breaking Ground: The Whitney’s Founding Collection

(Credit: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave. at 75th St., New York, NY 10021
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Museum Hours, Wednesday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

If you have ever wondered what pieces of art were on display when the Whitney Museum of American Art first opened in 1931, then check out “Breaking Ground: The Whitney’s Founding Collection,” which is on exhibit through September 16th. At the turn of the twentieth century Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an heiress and sculptor born to one of America’s wealthiest families, began to assemble a rich and highly diverse collection of modern American art. Walking through this vast exhibit you’ll see approximately 1000 objects from the founding collection including paintings by Stuart Davis and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as works by lesser-known artists.

Dynamic Earth Globe

With scale models of Jupiter (L) and Saturn looming overhead, American Museum of Natural History scientist Denton Ebel, PhD explains that Mars may be as close to Earth as it’s been in 60,000 years (Credit: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

American Museum of Natural History
Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth
Central Park West at 79th St., New York, NY 10024
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Museum Hours, Daily from 10 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Most of us won’t get the chance to see Earth’s view from space. Fortunately, you can get close to seeing our planet from orbit with a view of Earth at the American Museum of Natural History. Within Gottesman Hall hangs the Dynamic Earth Globe. The eight-foot long globe houses a unique internal projection system that beams a digital film to mimic what our planet looks like from outer space. The twelve-minute video enables visitors to see Earth make a full rotation as its cloud cover disperses, revealing a surface of deep oceans and lush green continents. You’ll even get to see what our planet would look like without vegetation and water, revealing Earth’s rugged topography. Free admission for members, $9 for children, $12 for seniors/students, $16 for adults.

“Jim Henson’s Fantastic World”

The “Atmosphere” exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image (Credit: Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images)

Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Ave., Astoria, New York 11106
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Museum Hours, Tuesday – Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fridays from 10:30 a.m.- 8 p.m. (free admission from 4-8 p.m.)
Saturday – Sunday from 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.

If you’re a fan of Jim Henson and his Muppets, you’ll want to visit Queens to see “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” exhibit at the Museum Of The Moving Image. The Smithsonian traveling exhibition will be enhanced by an array of programs, talks and performances as well as special screenings, a personal appearance by member of Henson’s family and his close collaborators, and education programs for the entire family. There will be over 120 artifacts displayed including drawings, animations, storyboards, props and video material that illustrate Henson’s creativity and execution. Viewers can also listen to a 30-minute podcast featuring Karen Falk, Director of the Henson Archives, Cheryl Henson (Jim Henson’s daughter and President of the Henson Foundation) and Craig Shemin, former writer for the Jim Henson Company. Tickets range from $5-$10 and the exhibit runs July 16 through January 16, 2012.

Lists: To-Dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art

Visitors look at one of the earliest original manuscripts of the Magna Carta from 1217 in an unexpected showcase of the extremely rare document at the Morgan Library & Museum - New York, NY - Apr 21, 2010 - Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Visitors look at one of the earliest original manuscripts of the Magna Carta from 1217 at the Morgan Library & Museum (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Ave. at 36th St., New York, NY 10016
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Museum Hours, Tuesday – Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

People like to make lists –  grocery lists, to-do lists, you name it. Great artists also used lists as a way to express themselves. Now, the Morgan Library and Museum presents “Lists: To-Dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.” Running through October 2nd, you can scan up to 80 lists, including “to-dos,” paintings sold, appointments made and met, supplies to get, places to see, and people who are “in.” Picasso itemized his recommendations for the groundbreaking 1913 Armory show while Eero Saarinen detailed the good qualities of New York Times art editor, critic and second wife Aline Bernstein. These personal artifacts have been turned into works of art and are now on display to the public. Tickets range from $10-$15, free for members and children 12 and under.

Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior

General view of atmosphere at the 2011 Brooklyn Artists Ball at the Brooklyn Museum on April 27, 2011 in New York City. (Credit: Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238
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Museum Hours, Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

“Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior” is the first major museum exhibition to focus on Vishnu, one of Hinduism’s three major deities. Examine over 170 paintings, sculptures and ritual objects that were made in India long ago (between the fourth and twentieth centuries). Vishnu is known as Hinduism’s gentle god and is easily recognized in the paintings by his blue skin. His form may change throughout the collection but he is always known through his avatars (mainly through Rama and Krishna). The exhibition is curated by Joan Cummins as well as Lisa and Bernard Selz. Enjoy this exhibit through October 2nd.

“Portraits in Dramatic Time”

Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza in New York (Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Lincoln Center Festival
Josie Robertson Plaza
70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
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Enjoy artist David Michalek’s latest work during the 2011 Lincoln Center Festival through July 31st. As a follow-up to “Slow Dancing,” the photographer returns to show his new large-scale outdoor performance and video installation called “Portraits in Dramatic Time.” While artists are featured both singly and in groups, the piece offers a unique and secret glimpse into some of the world’s greatest performing artists. This free performance will only be presented for a few weeks so stop by and check it out nightly from 8:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Comic Stripped

Visitors view the NYC Sex exhibit at the Museum of Sex. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Museum of Sex
233 Fifth Ave. @ 27th St., New York, NY 10016
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Museum Hours, Sunday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

For the edgier museum-goer, head over to the Museum of Sex in the heart of the city. Check out “Comic Stripped,” an exhibition focused on comics and the humorous erotic narrative they tell through images and text. Comics have a long history of incorporating humor, scandal, fantasy, and fun with sex. The exhibit examines the history and cultural significance of the icons and illustrators that have entertained and educated viewers for decades. There’s plenty to see in this museum once you’re done wandering around this unique exhibition. Tickets are $17.50 for adults, $16.50 for students/seniors.

Marine Group

Various pins are displayed at the Museum of Arts and Design where a show of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albrights pins was on display (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Museum of Arts & Design
2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
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Museum Hours, Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Enjoy Danish glass maker Steffan Dam’s latest work at the Museum of Arts & Design. His imperfections have been turned into quite a collection of art. Dam’s crafted sea creatures out of translucent materials and suspended them in glass. Viewers may feel like they’re seeing tiny individual aquariums where the tanks are filled with cracks, air bubbles, and minor imperfections. The exhibition is part of “Flora and Fauna, MAD About Nature,” located on the third floor gallery.

Circus! Science Under the Big Top

Try your hand (or feet!) at acrobatics, the high wire and more at the NY Hall of Science! (credit: NY Hall of Science)

New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th Street, Queens, NY 11368
Reviews & More Info Bring the kids along to walk the high wire, practice elastic acrobatics and test your balance and contortionist skills at New York Hall of Science summer exhibition, “Circus! Science Under the Big Top.” The exhibit also include displays about circus smells, animal communication, circus lingo, circus music, laughter and more. While you’re there, the New York Hall of Science also boasts the world’s largest science-themed playground and a rocket-inspired mini golf course.

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Carly Petrone is a freelance writer and make up artist living in New York City.

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