Day 22 of My Favorite Things: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
One of my absolute favorite things to do – while living in Manhattan – was to take my daughter to a museum. The Met, The Guggenheim, The Natural History Museum – these were all our “backyard”. You see – the wonderful trade off for living with no backyard – while living in Manhattan – is that there is so much to do.
The Met holds a very special place in my heart. I lived only a few short blocks from this museum for a decade. I used to visit by myself, with my husband, with my daughter & eventually with both of my children.
The museum is a mammoth. Vying for the title with its sister museums in Paris (The Louvre) & Madrid (The Prado). It is completely overwhelming. But if you are strategic in your visit then it is doable. By this I mean go see one exhibit or one wing or for one hour.
One of my all time favorite exhibits is the Temple of Dendur. I visited it many times. Even visited its sister exhibit in Madrid. I must have been Egyptian in a former life. I love it. I could just sit and stare for hours.
One of the coolest events I went to while living in Manhattan was the swearing in of Councilman Dan Garodnick – at the Temple of Dendur. I could not believe I was there after hours. I felt like Jennifer Lopez in Maid in Manhattan (incidentally a Maid in Manhattanmovie whose screening I went to & danced with JLo at the premiere – huzza!).
Much like the rest of Manhattan – when my child came along my beloved museum morphed into a space that was a place for me to take her and view through a different lens.
You say world famous museum. I say a HUGE air conditioned space with all kinds of things for her to see.
From her inaugural visit as an infant in a stroller to her last visit walking out waving goodbye to her favorite statue “baby” while I pushed her baby brother in her stroller. The Met has evolved with us as we have evolved with her.
Besides all of the amazing things to see at The Met – the armor room (kids love this!), to the American Wing’s courtyard & cafe, to the Chinese Courtyard – they offer a class for kids included with admission called Start with Art.
My daughter and I attended this fantastic program for close to three years. It’s a simple premise – a teacher leads the hour long “class”. A theme is picked, a painting or sculpture relating to the theme is visited. A short explanation or story is read, then the kids get to do an art project. Pretty much it is the best class there is based on the best art collection in the world.
Weekend upon weekend my daughter and I would walk over to The Met for our special morning. Followed by a little lunch in the cafe and a bus (“let’s take the Limited one Mama”) ride home in time for a nap. The most perfect day.
I don’t miss much about living in the city. However, I will openly and happily admit that I miss this one hour – once a week.
Thank you to The Metropolitan Museum of Art for introducing me to the best art in the world. You have always been and always will be one of my favorite things!
*GIVEAWAY* Everyone wins today! The Met is pay as you wish – so go and enjoy!
Here is a little more on The Met because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s earliest roots date back to 1866 in Paris, France, when a group of Americans agreed to create a “national institution and gallery of art” to bring art and art education to the American people.
On April 13, 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art was incorporated, opening to the public in the Dodworth Building at 681 Fifth Avenue. On November 20 of that same year, the Museum acquired its first object, a Roman sarcophagus.
On March 30, 1880, after a brief move to the Douglas Mansion at 128 West 14th Street, the Museum opened to the public at its current site on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street. The architects Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould designed the initial Ruskinian Gothic structure, the west facade of which is still visible in the Robert Lehman Wing. The building has since expanded greatly, and the various additions—built as early as 1888—now completely surround the original structure.
The Museum’s collection continued to grow throughout the rest of the nineteenth century. The 1874–76 purchase of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriot art—works dating from the Bronze Age to the end of the Roman period—helped to establish the Met’s reputation as a major repository of classical antiquities. When the American painter John Kensett died in 1872, thirty-eight of his canvases came to the Museum, and in 1889, the Museum acquired two works by Édouard Manet.
The Museum’s Beaux-Arts Fifth Avenue facade and Great Hall, designed by the architect and founding Museum Trustee Richard Morris Hunt, opened to the public in December 1902. The Evening Post reported that at last New York had a neoclassical palace of art, “one of the finest in the world, and the only public building in recent years which approaches in dignity and grandeur the museums of the old world.”
By the twentieth century, the Museum had become one of the world’s great art centers. Today, the Museum’s two-million-square-foot building houses over two million objects, tens of thousands of which are on view at any given time.