What is The Paley Center for Media?
The Paley Center for Media is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms, drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the media community. The general public can participate in Paley programs in both New York and Los Angeles that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. They can also access the Paley Center’s permanent media collection, which contains over 160,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. Through the global programs of its Media Council and International Council, the Paley Center also serves as a neutral setting where media professionals can engage in discussion and debate about the evolving media landscape. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry.
What will I see there?
At The Paley Center for Media, you have the opportunity to access an international collection of over 160,000 programs covering more than 100 years of television and radio history, including news, public affairs programs and documentaries, performing arts programs, children's programming, sports, comedy and variety shows, and commercial advertising. Programming from some 70 countries is represented in the collection.
In our library you choose a program from the collection to watch or listen to it individually, or with up to four people at a family console.
You can also drop in to a screening in one of the Paley Center’s theaters. We screen a wide variety of programming from our collection, from David Bowie in performance or a look at the work of Jim Henson or the short films of Saturday Night Live. In our theaters you enjoy the communal experience of watching television together. All of the programming is also available for you to watch or listen to in the library.
Throughout the year we offer numerous public programs that bring together writers, directors, producers, actors, critics, journalists, and artists from many disciplines to discuss everything from the creative process behind television and radio to the current trends in media and popular culture, to global political situations.
Who is it named for?
Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry.
Will I see Archie Bunker’s chair?
No. That’s in the Smithsonian. We do not collect artifacts of any kind as part of our permanent collection. We only collect programming. We occasionally have gallery exhibits that display television and radio related pieces.
Do you have everything ever broadcast?
No. It is a curated collection. Programs have been selected on the basis of artistic achievement, social impact, or historic significance.
What’s in your collection? Can I look online to see what you have?
We have over 160,000 programs and advertisements, covering more than 100 years of television and radio history (beginning with a 1918 speech by labor leader Samuel Gompers). The collection spans all genres: comedy, drama, news, public affairs, performing arts, children’s, sports, reality, animation, and documentary, and includes a significant international presence, with seven thousand assets from 70 countries.
The library database is accessible online:
To inquire about specific programs, contact our reference librarians:
In New York: Wednesdays to Fridays, 5:00 to 5:30 pm (ET) only, call 212.621.6600, press "0" to speak to an operator, and ask for the library.
Can I get a clip of something in your collection for a project I’m working on?
Absolutely not. Unlike many cultural institutions, we do not own the rights to the individual programs that are here. They were donated to us only to be viewed or listened to in the Paley Center by the general public.
Has The Paley Center for Media been around a long time?
It was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley and opened in 1976 as The Museum of Broadcasting at 1 East 53 Street in New York City in a building that was converted office space. Paley’s vision was to make sure that programming was being preserved—in order to preserve our own cultural history—and to let this collection be accessible to the general public walking in off the street.
In response to evolving technologies, in 1990 we changed our name to The Museum of Television & Radio and in 1991 moved into a Philip Johnson–designed building at 25 West 52 Street, named for William S. Paley. In 1996 we opened The Museum of Television & Radio in Los Angeles at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, in a new building designed by Richard Meier and named for Leonard H. Goldenson.
It is now known as The Paley Center for Media, reflecting the growing range of communications that impact society.
Do I need to be a Member to use the library?
No, but there are many benefits to being a Member of this unique media community, discounts on event tickets, and access to Research Services.
BECOME A MEMBER
What is PaleyGX?
PaleyGX (Paley Gaming Experience) is an ongoing initiative to highlight the world of gaming within the media community. Together with family and friends, experience the most exciting and challenging games on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox, and high-performance PCs, plus cutting-edge virtual reality titles on Oculus—all free to play here at the Paley Center.