Obama and the other spouses were in New York while their husbands attended the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, The New York Times reported. A total of 49 spouses gathered at the museum for a tour and lunch.
The entertainment was provided by singer and actress Audra McDonald, the Dance Theater of Harlem and students from the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.
Obama addressed the group during lunch, talking of the writers, artists and musicians who have lived in Harlem, including Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong and Zora Neale Hurston. She quoted from Hughes' poem "Dreams."
"There's a reason why I wanted to bring you all to Harlem today and that is because this community is infused with the kind of energy and passion that is quintessentially American but that has also touched so many people around the world," she said.
Obama also spoke of the role so many of the women at the museum had played in providing more opportunity for girls and women in their home countries.
The group included spouses from Samoa, Poland, Pakistan and even Monaco.