View of the People of New York Exhibit in the New York State Capitol.

The People of New York

New York's legacy of diversity
The People of New York
A Legacy of Diversity


The story of New York is a story about diversity. New Yorkers come from every walk of life and represent a multitude of backgrounds. From the first people of the area to today’s newest immigrants, New York has both witnessed and enabled a convergence of distinct groups of people.

The result is one of the most diverse populations in the United States – made up of people with unique stories of their ancestries and traditions. Culture, religion, language, sexual orientation, economic status, and geographical origin are just a few characteristics that denote our individuality. We interact with each other in everyday life, influence one another, and share our many customs.

Through images, objects, and stories, this exhibition features the people of New York - past and present – and our firsthand accounts of perseverance and migration.  It showcases our individual fights for inclusive freedom to establish a future state built on liberty and opportunity. The five sections of this exhibition explore specific themes that have contributed to shaping New York State’s population and illustrate how a legacy of diversity began, spread, and continues to form our New York identity.