The Short Version: A museum offers a rich tapestry of sights to explore, especially for daters seeking more stimulating interaction than a typical dinner-movie combo can provide. On a mission to engage people, The Noguchi Museum is a place where conversation blossoms between art lovers. Couples can linger for hours in the spacious sculpture garden, enjoying the artwork and the outdoors simultaneously. The artist Isamu Noguchi said, “I had a revelation in 1933 of the earth outdoors as a new way of conceiving sculpture,” and today his museum stands as a physical representation of his vision. To evoke a thoughtful dialogue with your date, take a tour of the 27,000-square-foot display, attend an exhibition, or sign up for a hands-on program with someone special by your side.
In New York City, when the day is cool and the hours run slow, a wonderful way to while away an afternoon is at a museum. Though low in price tag, it’s high in quality. Many locals take a date, soak in artwork, and share their interpretations of what they see.
Standing tall in the middle of Queens, The Noguchi Museum opens their doors to anyone seeking quiet reflection or deep conversation.
Each work of art has been purposefully placed in the indoor and outdoor setting to create a thoughtful experience for visitors. Taken as a whole, the stark yet elegant design of the sculptures is striking to behold. “We consider the entire museum a work of art,” explained Shannon Murphy, the Head of Education at the museum.
Today, couples often meander through the 27,000-square-foot space, admiring the sculpture garden and the galleries of unique pieces — all made by Isamu Noguchi. As couples make their way along the paths, they find avenues for sharing thoughts, ideas, and perspectives with one another along the way.
Since opening in 1985, the Noguchi Museum has awakened the senses of visitors at first on a season basis for a few days a week, and now five days a week (Wednesday to Sunday). The museum proudly holds the world’s largest collection of Noguchi sculptures, models, and designs, so taking a date here provides a truly unique and breathtaking experience.
Plus, in a practical sense, the art pieces can lend daters a hand by filling the silence with room after room of conversation starters. You can forge your own path through the museum, or you can join a guided tour and let an expert draw you into a deep rumination of the artwork.
“Art gives you the opportunity to be reflective with somebody new or a significant other,” Shannon said. “Anyone can connect to art in some way, and we we work hard to make the museum accessible to everyone.”
Daters Can Enjoy a Personal Experience in an Intimate Space
The Noguchi Museum is a place of joy and wonder, intended to give people space and opportunity to expand their thinking. This is an affordable date locale, and if you plan to go again and again you can become a member to save money on your visits. All members enjoy free admission and complimentary guest passes.
The artwork is uniquely exhibited in a way to be interpreted by passersby. No labels tell visitors what to think — instead Noguchi left it open to examination. That simple touch creates a truly special experience for viewers, empowering them to internalize and define what they see.
“Art connects to so many themes in one’s own life,” Shannon explained thoughtfully. “We want people to come in and have their own experience and interpretation.”
Sharing those unique viewpoints can be a fun date night experience. Any couple perusing this staggering collection will naturally end up talking about the emotions or ideas the art brings up for them. In this way, you get to see the museum twice — once through your eyes and once through the eyes of another.
Many Guided Programs Allow Singles & Couples to Share Ideas
Every afternoon at 2 p.m., the Noguchi Museum conducts free gallery talks, open to all visitors (and also available in Japanese). During these tours, a trained educator leads a group in an open-ended conversation on the artwork. People from all backgrounds and professions come to enjoy this contemplative journey through the museum.
Shannon described the talks as an ideal way to meet new people and join a conversation in a low-key, tranquil environment.
“The talk builds from formal analysis to a deeper interpretation,” she said. “We spend time getting to know the entire group. Nobody is expected to come in with an art history degree — we’re able to bring everybody into the conversation.”
The Noguchi Museum also hosts special events to entice visitors. Check out their calendar of public programs to find out about the latest goings on. From live music in the garden to educational talks by artists, there’s always something new to discover here.
“The pressure is off in guided programs,” she said. “The educator can lead the whole experience, and people can learn about each other from how they’re looking at the art.”
1. Community Days: Summer Afternoons Where the Public Visits for Free
In the summer, The Noguchi Museum draws in the crowds by opening their doors for free on specific days. From June to September, the first Sunday of every month is free to the public. The museum puts on special programming and activities on these days to excite interest as well.
Anyone who wants to escape from the mundane and take a tour of cerebral appreciation is welcome to come inside and partake in a day of guided exploration and inspiration.
“We’re a museum that gives you space. There’s no room for judgment — just space to be reflective,” Shannon said. “Time slows down when you walk into the galleries of The Noguchi Museum.”
2. Free First Fridays: Evenings of Reflection With Wine & Art
If your date is free on the first Friday of the month, you’re in luck — admission to The Noguchi Museum is free! All year round, this deal entices visitors to come and enjoy Noguchi’s artwork. The museum firmly believes art belongs in the fabric of our culture and should be available to everyone, belonging in the fabric of our culture, so they’re happy to open up their doors every month.
During the spring and summer, they even extend their hours on Free First Fridays, keeping the museum open until 8 p.m. with special programming and even a cash bar for your enjoyment. You and your date can get yourselves a drink and then enjoy a night at the museum if you come by for these special events.
3. Center of Attention: Hour-Long Sessions Focused on One Work of Art
Typically held on weekends, the Center of Attention program invites people to engage with a single work of art in the museum. Every month, the museum staff picks one piece from their collection and hosts an hour-long session of study and conversation on that work of art.
A discussion leader breaks down the raw elements of Noguchi’s work and helps visitors draw out different interpretations of it. Viewers can really appreciate and ruminate on the artwork by focusing their attention on it for an extended period. For daters, this in-depth conversation can be both informative and stimulating.
Every month, the museum shifts focus to a new work of art so visitors can keep coming back to discover something new.
4. Hands-On Program: Adults Create Their Own Artwork Inspired by Noguchi
Recently, the museum began expanding their programs for adults. Their Hands-On at Noguchi programs now let visitors unlock their own artistic talents, drawing inspiration from Noguchi’s work.
For four hours on select weekends, the museum provides an open studio for you to sculpt something of your own in an artist-led workshop. The materials change each time, ranging from photography to stone carving, to unleash the creativity of the participants. You can make a gift for someone special or take a date along to enjoy getting elbow-deep in clay together (hey, it worked for Patrick Swayze).
Exhibitions Offer Even More Engaging Ways to View the Museum
Every once in awhile, the Noguchi Museum decides to give visitors a real treat: an exhibition of works by different artists. They partner with contemporary artists and other institutions to bring in works by other artists.
These installations and special exhibitions add context and meaning to Noguchi’s style and influence. Drawing insight by comparison, people can truly appreciate what made the artist different and exceptional in his own time, and why his work still provides inspiration to artists and designers today.
“We bring in artists who have a personal or thematic connection to Noguchi’s work,” Shannon said of the exhibitions, “giving visitors the opportunity to consider Noguchi’s art in new and interesting ways.”
Every exhibition offers an engaging event for artsy couples who enjoy new experiences and fresh perspectives. You can find out about upcoming or ongoing exhibitions by going to the museum’s website or by joining the museum’s mailing list. With these resources, it’s easy to plan ahead for your next date at the museum.
At The Noguchi Museum, Conversation & Beauty Flourish
Art opens us up to new ideas and a richer understanding of the world around us. It brings us together, bridging the divide between two people, by providing a shared experience to discuss and mull over. The Noguchi Museum invites discussion and connection, which makes it a sublime setting for a date.
For decades, Noguchi’s innovative works have captured the imagination of thousands of viewers. In a simple, elemental setting, he created an evocative display that anyone can appreciate. If you’re Queens strolling along and in need of something to stimulate conversation for an afternoon, make a visit to The Noguchi Museum.
You don’t need an art degree to be transported by a collection of artwork — all you need is space to think and perhaps someone to be present in the moment with you.
“There’s a great beauty in a museum experience for couples,” Shannon said. “This is a place where you can just be. You can let the art affect you without talking or use it as a springboard to a conversation about your life.”