National Museum of Mathematics

Location: Flatiron District, E. 26th Street & between Madison/5th Avenues

Address: 11 E. 26th St, New York, NY 10010

Date of Visit: April 20, 2017

Open Hrs. ADA Accessbility? Admission Phone # Website
  • Daily: 10am-5pm*
  • CLOSED Thanksgiving
  • *First W./mo.: 10am-2:30pm
  • Adults: $15
  • Seniors (60+, ID required): $9
  • Students (ID Required): $9
  • Kids (<12 yrs.): $9
  • Toddlers (<2 yrs.): FREE
  • *Payment at kiosks about $1 more
212-542-0566 Website

Mathematics is crucial to our lives. Everything we see, hear, read, and touch centers around math, whether it’s the house we live in or a simple paper clip. The deeper you’re into it, the more complex it becomes. Located in northern end of the Flatiron District, the National Museum of Mathematics makes math both accessible to families and fun.



Its beginnings stem from the Goudreau Museum out in New Hyde Park, a town near Nassau County’s western border. After it closed in 2006, a group of people — the Working Group — came together to open a new math museum; as no mathematics museum (despite an incredible demand for hands-on mathematics programs) existed, their goal became more important. On November 17, 2009, the Department of Education granted a provisional charter to the Working Group, and $22 million was raised to open one. On December 15, 2012, the National Museum of Mathematics opened to the public.

Interactive Fun

So far, MoMath is the newest museum that I visited. Unlike the others, this is less observing and more hands on, which includes games and play stations. Everything here is very interactive with many really clever ways to show the value of math.

In the back of the museum is the Mathanaeum, an interactive game where you get to design your own shape. You can colorize, contract, or expand 3D pyramids, prisms, and other shapes. At the end of the day, the best one will be printed in 3D. I played with it, and it was fun with a slight difficulty curve, but I chose not to get involved.

Another fun activity in the lobby is called Shapes of Space. Consisting of three vacuum stations with cylinders around them, your goal is to create your own unique shape. But before you do, press the button to turn the vacuum on. If you plan to unleash your imagination, this is one section to do it. Don’t be afraid of your mental constriction. Use the shapes laid out on the table under the cylinder and connect as many as you want. There’s no right or wrong way to make zany shapes.

Pedal on the Petals is their signature attraction. Hop on one of the tricycles and pedal. As you rotate on the hard-surfaced flower petal, the square wheels will roll. Crazily, it’s really, really smooth. Depending on how crowded the museum gets, you can rotate a few times. But be careful when you get off; you might fall down.

Connecting the lobby and underground floor is “String Product,” a very clever, story-high game of multiplication. To activate a string, press one button in the first set of ten and multiply that by another number from the second set to get the result (a.k.a., product). It’s a simple game of 1 through 100, but it actively teaches you multiplication even if you’re uninterested in learning.

Harmony of the Spheres
"Harmony of the Spheres."

Downstairs is full of games and attractions for all ages. One of my quick favorites is Harmony of the Spheres. Touch a sphere, and music begins to play. Why is this piece important? Because it teaches people how math and music are closely related, even if people don’t know it. Touch spheres one by one to create a chain of sounds. It’s visual and spatial math, and it’s nothing short of magnificent. It’s great for kids to play for the music, but also great for adults to understand the abstract visual connection between music and math. You can read more about it from the company that made it here.

Some of them offer a challenge. A room in the middle of the floor has several puzzles to choose, and many of them require a little brainpower to solve. I spent some time building one of them with success. Another includes arranging the numbers in order while there’s a hole to unblock them. Nearby, a sound machine has disks fractioned, and it’s up to you to put the disk together so the spindle can rotate and activate the sounds. Others include two Pythagorean Theorem puzzles and an Enigma Machine, each of them with a pesky difficulty curve. I didn’t try the Enigma Machine, but I played with the easier Pythagorean Theorem puzzle; it requires you to think, spend time putting the pieces together, and perhaps wing it. But when it’s over, it’s satisfying.


The National Museum of Mathematics is a very unique experience. Established since 2009 and opened in 2012, it’s located at the Flatiron/Midtown border. Two floors of attractions are family-friendly, and they offer challenges to kids and adults alike. It succeeds its mission to make math not only accessible, but most importantly, fun, too. Whether you love or hate math, MoMath deserves a few hours of your time.

Best Directions:

  • By subway, take the R/W train along Broadway or 6 train along Lexingotn Av./Park Av. S. to 28th Street.

    If getting off the R/W train, walk down Broadway to 26th Street and make a left. If getting off the 6 train, walk down Park Av. S. to E. 26th Street and make a right.
  • By bus, take the M1/2/3/55 via 5th Avenue to W. 28th Street and walk eastbound on 28th Street.

Visitation Tips:

MoMath ticket.
MoMath ticket.
  • The museum is completely ADA-accessible.
  • If you plan to purchase a ticket at MoMath, it'll cost about $1 more than from the MoMath website.

    All tickets at the museum are paid through automatic kiosks. Once you make your payment, a card will be ejected, and you'll be able to clip it somewhere on your body. All cards and clips must be dropped off before you leave. (Right next to the MoMath store, if your discarded card lands inside a smaller box at the bottom of a high container, you win a prize.)
  • If you’re paying for your ticket as a student, bring a valid Student ID with you. The same applies to seniors 60 years or older.
  • Photography is permitted throughout the exhibit. Tripods, flash, and selfie sticks aren’t recommended.
  • Floor plans are available at the museum, but they're laminated, so you can't take them with you.
  • Occasionally, MoMath will host classes of students going on field trips to this location, so be prepared for a pack of them at any time.
  • There’s no parking available, but visitors and Members receive discounted parking at nearby garages through coupons. Click here to read more about them. But due to New York’s congestion, it’s best to take public transportation (preferably the subway) instead.