Museum of City of New York

Website about the History of Activism in New York

Linking social activism from the 1650’s to the 21st Century

Linking social activism from the 1650’s to the 21st Century


The Museum of the City of New York wanted to bring their permanent exhibition Activist New York to a broad audience on the web. The site needed to function as an ongoing repository for previous, current and new topics presented in the gallery, as a source of lesson plans for teachers, and to provide a place to publish #ActivistNY social media posts.


Use Experience/Interface Design CMS Design Drupal Development



Press Coverage



MediaCombo worked with curator Sarah Seidman and her team at MCNY on the website design and development for this virtual version of the exhibition. Built in Drupal, a CMS enables staff to update the website with fresh content from the exhibition.

We also designed a lesson plan template so MCNY educators can create new lesson plans for each new exhibition story, and upload them to the site.

Screenshot of Activist New York website.

More than 20 case studies focus on key moments in the history of social activism in New York and represent issues of economic rights, environmental advocacy, gender equality, immigration, religious freedom, and political and civil rights. Each story is told through the activists who made things happen and is revealed through objects displayed in the online galleries.

Educators have their own section with extensive lesson plans for each case study.

Screenshot of Activist New York website showing classroom resources and lesson plans for teachers.
The Outcome
  • The website is now the go-to location where teachers, historians, and activists can find comprehensive information on the history of social activism in New York City in one place.
  • Students use the site as a study resource in response to assignments from the lesson plans.
  • In between case study updates, the site is continually refreshed by a constant flow of tweets using the hashtag #activistny.
  • The story of social activism in New York is constantly being updated, and connected to our centuries-long history of New Yorkers standing up for what they believe is right.


What Others
Are Saying.



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New Yorkers have been advocating for religious freedom since 1657, when it was still known as New Netherlands. They protected the Quakers against the disapproval of Governor Peter Stuyvesant.


In 1855, over 50% of New York City residents were immigrants. Today the number of immigrants in NYC is about 37%.


In 1865, more than half the city’s population lived in substandard tenements.