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How This Site Works

Collections Home

The Collections Portal home page features horizontal galleries of highlights from the Museum'’s photography collections. Click on the arrow next to the word “"Browse by"” to see images grouped by photographer, era, or borough.

Click on any image to view a detail page with additional information. From the detail page, scroll through the other images in the gallery by clicking the arrows above the image. Explore related images from the collection by clicking on one of the keywords on the left side of the page.


You may search this site without registering or logging in. Registering an account, however, will allow you to save images in a lightbox so that you can return to them, as well as to purchase reproductions or request rights to use an image.

To create an account, click on the “"Register”" link located in the navigation bar at the top of the page. This will take you to the Account/Registration page.

Enter your name, the e-mail address, and the password you would like to use for this site. Fields marked with an asterisk are required. Click on “"Submit/Update”" to finish the registration process.

You may log in immediately after creating your account.

Log in

Click the “"Log in"” link on the navigation bar at the top of the page and enter your e-mail address or log-in ID and password. Click the arrow to the right.

If you would like the site to remember your log-in information for the next time you visit the site, click "“Remember Me".”

Once you have created an account, you may log in to use such advanced features as lightboxes.


Many of the images on this site are available for purchase for personal or commercial use. You may submit a request for high- or low-resolution digital files or custom reproduction prints by following these steps.

1.) You must be logged in to see options for purchase.

2.) To initiate an order, simply click on any image from the home page, search result, or lightbox. Scroll to the bottom of the image detail page and click on “"Add to Cart".” Choose additional images in the same way.

3.) When you have finished selecting images, click the “"Cart"” link in the navigation bar at the top of the page to view all of your selections.

4.) Complete your request by entering the appropriate information in the fields located to the right of the image thumbnail. Click the "“Request"” button.

Within one to two business days the Museum'’s will e-mail you information regarding pricing and delivery.

The Museum will send high-resolution digital image files and prints once full payment has been received. Billing reference numbers are for commercial customers only. All requests must include accurate information concerning the proposed use of all images.

For more information, visit our Rights & Reproductions page.


Lightboxes allow you to conveniently store the images you like, making it easy for you to view them whenever you want. You must be registered and logged in to use lightboxes.

To create a new lightbox, click on the “"Lightboxes"” link in the navigation bar at the top of the page. You will be taken to a page called My Lightboxes. Click on “"Create New Lightbox".” Enter the name and any additional information you would like to include in the caption section and then click “"OK".”

You may add an image to a lightbox by clicking on an image and selecting “"Add to Lightbox"” at the bottom of the image detail page. If you have more than one lightbox, you may select the one to which you want to add images by choosing it from a drop-down menu on the bottom left.

To view the contents of your lightboxes, click on the “"Lightboxes"” link listed in the navigation bar at the top of the page. From there, you may view your images, re-sequence them, edit the lightbox, or add items to your cart.

To order all of the images in your lightbox, click on “"ADD ALL IMAGES TO THE CART”" in the menu listed to the right of the lightbox title.


Two types of searches may be performed on this site.

Basic Search

Enter a word or phrase in the Search box in the top right hand portion of the screen. The system will suggest keywords, which you may select by clicking on them, but you may also enter your own free text terms. Press enter on your keyboard or click the Search button to search.

Advanced Search

To get to the Advanced Search page, simply click on the word “"Search"” on the navigation bar at the top of any page. You can then search for a specific image, or group of images, by typing a keyword, photographer, accession number, date, object type, or subject term into the appropriate fields, and clicking on the “"Search”" button. Be sure to clear your results by clicking on “"clear" at the bottom of the page before beginning another advanced search.

Search Results Page

You have the option of displaying your results in a grid or a list. If you are logged in, you may change your preferences in My Account to limit the maximum search results and control the number of rows that display on a page. Scroll through the pages of results using the arrows in the top right,” or clicking on a preferred page number.

To refine your search, click on one of the facets to the left of your search results to search by photographer name, object type, or borough. Click the “"back"” button in your browser to return to the Advanced Search page and enter additional terms or clear the terms from your previous search.

My Account

Once you have registered and logged in, you may change your preferences by clicking on the “"My Accounts"” link located in the navigation bar at the top of the page. From there you may change settings that control the display of search results, change your personal information, and see information about orders you have placed.

Terms of use

The Museum of the City of New York does not believe there are any copyright restrictions preventing us from posting these images on the Collections Portal. In some cases the Museum of the City of New York is the copyright holder. In other cases, a third party owns the copyright and has given explicit permission to display the images in our Collections Portal. With the remaining images, the Museum believes that no rightful copyright holder can be identified.

To the best of our knowledge, we see no reason these historical images should not be available to the public for personal research and enjoyment. We cannot, however, deny the possibility that sharing some of these images may inadvertently infringe on the rights of copyright holders unknown to us. The user of the images must understand that the Museum of the City of New York cannot guarantee that your private use of the images on the Collections Portal will not violate the rights of unidentified copyright holders, and the Museum cannot be held responsible for any liability resulting from your use of these images.

As a leading educational and cultural heritage institution, the Museum of the City of New York honors the intellectual property of artists and innovators. We are committed to protecting the rights of creators and copyright holders, and are always interested in discovering historical facts about the images in our collection. If you have specific information relating to the copyrights of images in the Collections Portal, please contact us by mail at Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029, ATTN: Director of Collections Access. We will remove any legitimately disputed images from public view pending a review of the claim. If you have additional information about the images, please email us at collections@mcny.org.

You are welcome to save single, low-resolution copies of images from this site for non-commercial personal use, such as study or research, as long as the image is in the public domain, i.e. has no known copyright restrictions, or the copyright is held by the Museum of the City of New York.

You may also download and use low-resolution images that are in the public domain, or for which the Museum of the City of New York holds the copyright, for a non-commercial Web site, such as your personal blog, and for such "fair uses" as criticism, reviews, or illustration, as long as the image is accompanied by the creators' name, the title of the work, and the line, "From the Collections of the Museum of the City of New York". We would appreciate it if you also included a link back to the Collections Portal.

All commercial use of images, and access to high-resolution images, requires permission from the Museum and an access fee appropriate to the image's intended use. You begin the process of obtaining permission by adding the image to your cart and submitting a request. You may also email rights@mcny.org, or call us at 212-534-1672 ext 3375. Visit the Rights & Reproductions page for more information on commercial or other public use of an image, or obtaining a print for decorative use.

Please contact us at collections@mcny.org with any questions that arent answered above.


For technical assistance or for questions not answered on this page, please contact collections@mcny.org.

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Privacy Policy

Your privacy is important to us, and we will not collect personal information about you without your permission.

The Museum does automatically collect some anonymous, non-personal information about visitors, such as the country from which you accessed the site and the search terms used. We use this information only for statistical purposes to help us monitor how guests navigate our site, allowing us to improve service to you.

To prevent unauthorized access and ensure the correct use of information, we have put in place technical procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.