Photographs of school children participating in educational programs at The Skyscraper Museum


Devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future, the Museum celebrates the city’s rich architectural heritage and examines the historical forces and individuals that have shaped Its successive skylines. With guided instruction, students and teachers can relate to tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate and places of work and residence. The Museum’s collection of archival photographs and architectural models inform and guide the educational experience.

The Museum is dedicated to progressive museum education and offers school visits which promote object-based inquiry and active exploration of our space. Using the New York State Learning Standards as a guide, lesson plans and instructional materials are designed to be academically rigorous and promote higher-order thinking. Our staff is trained to promote close looking and critical thinking during tours tailored for the curricular needs of teachers in the NYC Public School system.

Education at the Museum also extends to NYC teachers. The Museum offers professional development opportunities, in addition to meet & greet events held at the Battery Park City gallery.

Contact [email protected] to be put on our educators newsletter or call 212.945.6324 with further questions.


Photograph of a Tower Tube Tower Tube


The Tower Tube is a tool kit for New York City teachers designed to enhance The Skyscraper Museum’s exhibitions and programs. The primary source materials and activity guide included will help teachers prepare students in NYC for a museum tour. In addition to serving as pre-and post visit materials, the Tower Tube supports classroom instruction on the following social studies concepts and themes:

• New York City history
• Skyscrapers and the development of the urban environment
• Community and neighborhood exploration

The Tower Tube holds a collection of historic images showing New York City skyscrapers, streets, and skylines. These resources – including PHOTOGRAPHS, DRAWINGS, and MAPS – are just a few of the museum’s rare artifacts that tell the story of skyscrapers and their unique place in the history and life of cities.

The Tower Tube Includes:
• 14 enlarged images from The Skyscraper Museum collection
• User manual with comprehensive information about each resource
• Teaching strategies for object based inquiry
• Suggested activities for K-6 lessons and Secondary School activities
• Connections to New York State Regents Exam requirements and Learning Standards in Social Studies Click here for a preview of the K-6 Tower Tube User’s Guide.
Click here for a preview of the 7-12 Tower Tube User’s Guide. 

The Skyscraper Museum thanks Chris Esteban and A. Esteban & Company for pro bono printing services for more than a decade of free Tower Tubes.


The Museum’s Education department has prepared several lesson plans and supplemental worksheets for students as they prepare for a visit or extend learning when back in the classroom.

Lesson 1: What is a Skyscraper?

Students inductively discover the characteristics of skyscrapers as they complete a “Skyscraper Detectives” activity that invites them to examine an array of the Museum’s archival images.


Lesson 2: Designing a Skyscraper

Students examine archival photographs of the Empire State Building site and explore its construction. Through analysis of primary source documents, students develop a sense of the scope of skyscraper construction.


Lesson 3: Building a Skyscraper

A variety of exploration stations allow students to explore principles crucial to skyscraper construction. They concurrently learn the terminology and parts of a skyscraper, and practice using these terms with images.

[DOWNLOAD SKYSCRAPER PHOTOGRAPH MASTER] Lesson 4: Changes in a City over Time

Students practice close looking skills using images of the Manhattan skyline from three different time periods. They infer the likely changes that transpire in a city over time,

Green Resources Collected here are highlights from the Museum’s extensive archive of green multimedia. Classes can explore this material as a group, or individually – either as enrichment or as part of a lesson. Students should notice the changes in building that is leading to more environmentally friendly cities, and consider what green innovations they see in their own lives.

Recommended Reading (K-12)

Books selected by The Skyscraper Museum enhance and enrich student learning about skyscrapers, complete with suggested activities.


ESB Run-Up (4-6)

Students learn about the real, vertical race to the top of the Empire State Building and then use a chart of race results to solve an array of challenging mathematics problems. This engaging activity can be used in a single class period or a take-home activity.


Junior High Level Document-Based Question

The documents in this DBQ vary in their level of difficulty, but prompt the students to write an essay about the Empire State Building.

High School

The Museum’s Education department has prepared several educational dossiers for high school students as they prepare for a visit or extend learning when back in the classroom.