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Happy Birthday, Discoveries!

Archival photo of a group having a discussion in front of Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30).

View of a group having an active discussion in 1987 in front of Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (57.92)

What's the best kind of birthday celebration? One that lasts all year! Join us at The Met, where our Discoveries program is turning 30 years old!

Discoveries is a series of workshops that began in 1987. They were created especially for visitors with learning and developmental disabilities and those on the autism spectrum, together with family and friends. There are workshops for both kids and adults. Many adult participants started attending Discoveries as kids. So we have a lot to celebrate!

Archival photo of adults and children gathering materials during museum class.

View of adults and children gathering materials during a museum class in 1987. Photo by Arthur A. Murphy

We will kick off Discoveries@30 with a birthday-party-themed workshop on September 17. The workshop is free, but reservations are required. Hope to attend? Contact 212-650-2010 or access@metmuseum.org.

Screen with birthday celebration for General Guo Ziyi.

Lu Kuisheng (Chinese, active 1821–50). Screen with birthday celebration for General Guo Ziyi, mid-19th century. Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Carved red and black lacquer, 84 1/8 x 12 ft. 4 in. (213.7 x 375.9 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Henry-George J. McNeary, 1971 (1971.74a–h)

At this celebration workshop, we will look at art that shows how people have celebrated special occasions over time and around the world. This screen from China is over 200 years old. It shows how images can help us celebrate important events. Although you won't be able to view it on September 17, you can see it here!

Close up of the kids playing on the screen with birthday celebration for General Guo Ziyi.

Detail of kids playing on the screen with birthday celebration for General Guo Ziyi

This screen was made in honor of a senior gentleman from the Chen family, perhaps to celebrate his 60th birthday. If you look closely at the lower parts of the screen (above), you'll see carvings that show kids playing. The scenes of kids playing symbolize the wish for Mr. Chen to have many descendants.

Detail of the eightieth birthday reception for General Guo Ziyi on the screen with birthday celebration for General Guo Ziyi.

Detail of the 80th birthday celebration for General Guo Ziyi on the screen

The scene on the upper part (above) shows a birthday party for a famous general, Guo Ziyi, who lived over 1,000 years before Mr. Chen.

​Have you ever looked at old photos when celebrating a birthday of a relative or friend? To celebrate the past 30 years of Discoveries, we started looking through old photos and found this one.

Archival photo of adults and children looking at Egyptian art.

View of adults and children looking at ancient Egyptian art in 1990. Photo by Kathleen MacQueen

I like this photograph because it shows people of different ages talking about art together. The clothing styles look different and the kids in the photo are now adults. Even though things have changed, we know that Discoveries still brings friends and family together to enjoy exploring the Museum and making art.

We want to listen to your stories and see your photos of a Discoveries workshop. Do you have a memory or photo from Discoveries you'd like to share? Please email access@metmuseum.org, call 212-650-2010, or leave a comment below.

Looking forward to another 30 years!

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