New-York Historical Society Museum & Library

Experiencing the Rich History of New York through AV Technology
New York, NY

Download this project profile as a PDF

The New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, which explores the political, cultural and social history of New York, underwent a three-year, $70-million renovation that now features a new 3,400-square-foot space. Electrosonic provided the audio, video and control systems for the renovation of the city’s oldest museum. Platt Byard Dovell White Architects and Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership were the design team on the project.

New York Historical Society

The Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History forms the new Great Hall. Built by DCL in Boston, digital signage at the theater entrance provides visitors with information about the museum’s offerings. With the help of AV consultant TAD, Electrosonic supplied signage software and players, which Unified Field used to craft content.

New York Historical Society

Near the admissions desk, an interactive ‘living painting’ by Small Design Firm is displayed on a 2x5 videowall made up of ten narrow-mullion 55-inch monitors. The painting on the videowall initially appears static, but a computer application running in the background makes the painting come alive as visitors step into the range of the integrated motion detector.

New York Historical Society

The New York Rising exhibit uses five rotating display housings containing portrait oriented 46-inch touchscreens. When a visitor rotates one of the touchscreen cases, the images on the touchscreen pan with it, highlighting the artifacts on the wall directly in line with the display.

Adjacent to the Smith Gallery is the 420-seat Robert H. Smith Auditorium, a multi-purpose space for presentations and performances in the evenings, and an 18-minute multi-screen media experience titled “New York Story” during the day. The presentation features a three-projector system and begins on four 6-foot wide screens that expand to ten as the tale unfolds. For the finale, the screens lift up to reveal a 72-foot wide backscreen. The stage machinery was by PDO and LA Propoint. Working with Donna Lawrence Productions, Electrosonic created two full-scale mock ups of a theater section at Electrosonic’s Burbank facility one year prior to installation, and tested the design against the unique demands of the multi-screen projection.

Since the main screen had limited space behind it for speakers, Electrosonic hid the speakers in the apron and ceiling of the stage, giving the illusion that sound is coming from the center of the screen. Electrosonic installed 38 speakers for surround sound, augmented by two 15” sub-woofers.

The theater’s full presentation system allows for everything from a complete band set up to a simple PowerPoint presentation; it features a projector, connections for up to 18 microphones, Blu-ray/DVD players and podium control for a computer. Outside the theater, Electrosonic equipped the Smith Gallery and Dexter Hall with fixed speakers and portable special events AV systems that allow presentation in either gallery with local or theater generated media.

New York Historical Society

Kids experience their own history at the DiMenna Children’s History Museum, the first ever museum devoted to children’s history. Designed by Lee H. Skolnick and fabricated by Explus, Superior Exhibits, Murphy Catton and DCI, the museum features exhibits exploring all aspects of children’s history, including its dark side, such as Orphan Trains, which were used to ship children out west to work on farms, and the hardships faced by Newsies, the newsboys who eked out a living selling papers.