CASE STUDY // Queens Museum

Queens Museum tour


Address: flushing Meadows Corona Park

Queens, NY 11368

Institution type: Non-Profit Organization (NPO)

Target Audience:​ school groups, artists, local community


Tom Finkelpearl: President and Executive Director

David Strauss: Director of External Affairs and Capital Projects

Michelle Lopez: Manager, ArtAccess and Autism Initiatives

Diya Vij: Communications and Digital Media Manager

Marco Castro: Visitor Experience Manager

Mission: The Queens Museum is dedicated to presenting the highest quality visual arts and educational programming for people in the New York metropolitan area, and particularly for the residents of Queens, a uniquely diverse, ethnic, cultural, and international community.

The Museum fulfills its mission by designing and providing art exhibitions, public programs and educational experiences that promote the appreciation and enjoyment of art, support the creative efforts of artists, and enhance the quality of life through interpreting, collecting, and exhibiting art, architecture, and design.

The Queens Museum presents artistic and educational programs and exhibitions that directly relate to the contemporary urban life of its constituents, while maintaining the highest standards of professional, intellectual, and ethical responsibility.
Notes from visit:
• After the 1976 World Fair ends, the area begins to empty out and the neighborhood of Queens becomes depressed with the decrease of activity.

• 1970’s there were no cultural institutions in New York City and the Queens Museum is founded in 1972 as a cultural institution.
• The Queens Museum’s staff is made up of art therapists and international people to allow for multilingual programs in one of the city’s and the world’s most culturally diverse areas.
• There is a suggested donation of $8.00 and people take the fact that it is a “suggestion” very seriously.
• The institution aims to eliminate barriers in order to invite people into the space, and they tried to make this even clearer with their latest renovation.
• The Queens Museum is considered as “a gateway to the park.”
• The building is engrained into the park considering its location and historic importance.
• They are currently working on receiving a grant to investigate further the relationship between the museum and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
• The concept behind the new renovation was to make the building more transparent and inviting through its architecture.

• The building’s “sunken courtyard” as well as other spaces that were added in the 2013 expansion were inspired by spaces found in different museums across the city.
• Considering that an average of 260,000 cars travel through the highway every day, the façade facing it was given more thought by incorporating signage and allowing for people to look into the museum and through the museum to the Unisphere from the highway.
• The museum also has outdoor programing such as ping pong games with Tom Finkelpearl , President and Executive Director of the Queens Museum, which he uses to reach out to people in the neighborhood and learn the community’s perceptions and thoughts about the museum in order to improve the institution’s relationship with the local community.
• The building on the interior is open and well lit since it is intended for the people to fill up the space.
• The building is regularized architecturally through its materials: steel, glass, and concrete.
• The people that live close by make up the majority of the museum’s visitors, as well as people with access to cars since the Queens Museum is so far away from Manhattan.
• The building is found not in a geographical area, but in a transportation area.
• Because the institution is a NPO, when looking for funding, they first have to ask “who is interested in funding you?” and the result, for them, is for the most part people interested in education and therefore, the institution is focused very much on education.
• It is difficult for the museum to raise money with the local community because the average income of the people walking into the museum is very low compared to other institutions such as MoMA.
• The Queens Museum has partnerships with libraries in the Queens community as well as with the New New Yorkers program of a library teaching in multiple languages.
• The museum is a representation of the fall of elitist art and the uprising of Queens.
• The Panorama Model of New York City by Robert Moses is the piece in their collection that makes the building unique.
• The Queens Museum does not aim to be a community center but rather to be local within the community that is so international.
• Being in New York City allows for the museum to be freer in its programming and content since there are so many high end museums in the city and there is no need for the Queens Museum to compete with them.

• The questions they frequently ask themselves are “who are you (the museum)? And how are you better than everyone else (other museums)?”



Credits: Aiym Zhumasheva, Wikimedia

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