The Archives collect, organize, and preserve in perpetuity the corporate records and official correspondence of the Museum, make the collection accessible, and provide research support in order to further an informed and enduring understanding of the Museum's history.
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: Wednesday, September 9, 2015
So what is it really like behind the scenes of one of the world's largest art museums?
For three weeks in July, I observed some of the daily routines of the summer MuSe interns here at the Met: forty-one college and graduate students hungry to gain insight into what it's really like to work at an encyclopedic art museum. Each intern is assigned a specific project and supervisor within one of the Met's departments, where he or she carries out the majority of their work. From curatorial and conservation departments to Digital Media and Information Systems & Technology, I was fortunate to be set free in the Met to explore these diverse areas of the Museum and interview the interns (while also being spoiled on a daily basis by an abundance of artistic jewels).
Posted: Friday, August 14, 2015
When the Met launched its first subscription concert series, in 1954, it opened with a performance by the celebrated violinist Isaac Stern. The concert was part of a ticketed series of thirteen concerts for Members, and included an evening of folk song and three poetry readings. Series subscriptions were available as well as tickets to single events, which cost between $2.50 and $5.50 per event. The Met had already hosted over ten years of wildly popular free concerts in the Great Hall, led by conductor David Mannes until his retirement in 1948, so this new concert series was the next iteration of Museum performances, one that continues to evolve today as Met Museum Presents reinvents live arts at the Met.
Posted: Tuesday, February 3, 2015
During several visits to the recent exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, I marveled at how the artist's inventive compositions guided my eyes through the dramatic, active scenes these artworks portray. The many fantastic details which augment each narrative rewarded repeated viewing and inspired a sense of awe for the unity of effort required to plan and create such massive, intricate images. At times I felt a bit overwhelmed by the immensity of the tapestries—all but one of them loaned from European museums and private collections—and wondered about the tremendous physical labor it must have taken to bring them to New York and install them here at the Metropolitan Museum.
Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Today the Department of Musical Instruments celebrates its storied history with the launch of A Harmonious Ensemble: Musical Instruments at the Metropolitan Museum, 1884–2014—a comprehensive account of the people, performances, and instruments that have made the department what it is today. This digital publication includes audio and video material dating back to the 1940s, many images of the instruments and the people who have shaped the collection, and original documents never before seen by the public. It is intended as a resource for those interested in the department and its activities, and will also be available, without media files, in a searchable, printable format at a later date.
Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
During the last years of World War II, Allied forces made a concerted effort to protect artworks, archives, and monuments of historical and cultural significance as they advanced across Europe. They also worked, during the war and after the German surrender, to secure artworks looted by the Nazis and restitute them to their rightful owners. Approximately 345 men and women from thirteen nations were charged with this task; most were volunteers in the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives program, or MFAA, established in late 1943 under the Civil Affairs and Military Government Sections of the Allied armies. Popularly known as "Monuments Men," their ranks included museum curators, art historians, and others trained to identify and care for artworks subject to harsh conditions.
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013
One hundred years ago this weekend, on October 20, 1913, Robert W. de Forest was unanimously elected the fifth president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. De Forest had been involved with the Museum since its inception in 1870 and had served on its Board of Trustees since 1889, first as a Trustee and later as its secretary and vice president.
Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013
Ninety-five years ago the halls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art resounded with the sounds of music, as the first public concert was held within the Museum's galleries.
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013
One hundred years ago this weekend, on March 17, 1913, The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired its first painting by the French Post-Impressionist master Paul Cézanne. The Museum purchased Cézanne's View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph at the groundbreaking International Exhibition of Modern Art, popularly known as the Armory Show.
Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013
One hundred and forty years ago today, on March 1, 1873, The Metropolitan Museum of Art signed a lease for the Douglas Mansion, located at 128 West 14th Street in Manhattan. The rapidly expanding museum had outgrown its original location in the Dodworth Building in midtown and was in need of additional gallery space.