Stephanie Post is a senior digital asset specialist in the Digital Department.
Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2015
Just as the buildings of The Metropolitan Museum of Art have been growing and changing since the Museum first opened, so too has the staff. Despite the inherent importance of the staff, the first several decades of Annual Reports frequently only listed senior staff and the trustees; the Board of Trustees simply recognized support staff as being "much appreciated" in early reports. However, in 1926, fifty-five years after the Museum's founding, the growing number of staff—specifically the support staff—was too large to ignore. That year's Annual Report offered the following comparative figures to help provide some perspective:
Posted: Monday, August 3, 2015
From 1916 to 1923, the southernmost end of the Museum was, simply put, an empty shell, "void of any walls except those which were necessary for the support of floors and the roof" (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 21, No. 4, Apr. 1926, 3). The completion of Wings J and K were long delayed due to insufficient city funding, followed by the onset of World War I and the economic depression of the postwar years. By 1923, funding was finally complete and the long-awaited plans of McKim, Mead and White, were actualized. Wing K opened on April 7, 1925.
Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2015
Beginning in 1933, in the shadow of the Great Depression, the Museum began an initiative known as "Neighborhood Circulating Exhibitions." This experiment was a collection of traveling exhibitions, composed exclusively of Museum-owned objects, to be exhibited in the neighborhoods of "certain groups in the city's population that have not thus far had the adequate opportunity to take advantage of the Museum's services" (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 11, Part 1, Nov. 1933, 183). The works were to be exhibited, at the expense of the Museum, in neighborhood spaces such as settlement houses, branches of the New York Public Library, municipal offices, and schools.
Posted: Monday, January 26, 2015
Hidden behind the galleries, unseen by visitors, lies a veritable city within the Museum's walls. In support of the Met's buildings and daily activities are highly skilled, highly dedicated tradesmen, and our many workshops see the tireless work of carpenters, engineers, lampers, painters, plexi-workers, plumbers, riggers, roofers, landscapers, electricians, machinists/millwrights, and locksmiths. The product of their work is knowable by the constant fine-tuning of our galleries and buildings, and by the comfort of visitors and employees who spend their days at the Museum. Their work has gone on without much fanfare, but without their expert efforts the Museum would struggle to subsist.
Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2014
In 1941 the Museum decided to consolidate staff charged with maintaining contact with schools, colleges, institutions of the city, and the Department of Education into one cohesive group, entitled the Department of Education and Museum Extension. This division would encompass general guide services, adult education and lecture programs, curatorial study rooms, circulating exhibitions and lending collections, visual materials (lantern slides, photographs), and the Junior Museum.
Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014
The Museum's Main Building at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street has practically been under construction since it was first completed in 1880. Growing and changing to accommodate the ever-expanding collection and visitor base, the building has been shaped by each director's initiatives, all with an eye toward accommodating future needs and demands. Wings have been added, galleries have been reconfigured, spaces have been renovated and changed time and time again, and some are wholly unrecognizable from their earliest days. In order to accommodate the collection, the Museum strives to create the perfect atmosphere for its artworks; curators strive to convey time and place, history and subtext—maintaining a great sensitivity to the past, but remaining firmly steeped in the present.
Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
The Museum's first Bulletin, published in November 1905, mentions a restaurant "located in the basement of the North side of the Main building. Meals are served à la carte, from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and table d'hote from 12 a.m.–6.pm." (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 1, Nov. 1905). The Museum Restaurant was located near the western end of what was then known as the Hall of Casts, accessible via a staircase leading to the basement (approximately where the current Public Cafeteria is now). By 1912 an entire renovation was planned for the restaurant, as "[it] has never been an attractive place to visitors, partly because of its location . . . but equally because of its dark, cheerless aspect, [and was] so far removed from the toilet rooms . . . [that it was] a serious drawback." (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 10, Oct. 1912). Accordingly, these planned renovations highlighted "a rest-room for women, with a toilet-room attached, [including] wash-basins with hot and cold water, while a smoking room will be provided for men, also with lavatories" (ibid.).
Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
The cover of the Museum's April 1913 Bulletin was devoted exclusively to J. Pierpont Morgan's contributions to the Museum during his lifetime. It read: "J. Pierpont Morgan / Great Citizen of Great Heart, Great Mind, Great Will / Knowing that art is necessary to upholding the ideals of a nation he gave to this Museum generously of his possessions and more generously of himself."
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014
In the first half of the twentieth century, the American violinist and educator David Mannes (1866–1959) conducted the Symphony Society of New York, which frequently performed at events and openings hosted by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
In 1937, for the very first time at the Museum, the Christmas spirit "received unusually graphic representation," according to The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (December 1937). A small exhibition from December 19, 1937, through January 2, 1938, featured The Christmas Story in Art: The Nativity, the Adoration of the Shepherds, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Flight into Egypt as illustrated in forty paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, and decorative arts chosen from the Museum's collection.