I remember reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when I was a young girl. Being very imaginative, I’d ponder the possible scenarios that a night at the museum could entail and dreamed of one day visiting the Metropolitan of Art in New York City. It took me many years, but I recently made that trip as part of a special birthday getaway for my just turned 18 year old son. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, my son or myself. Our visit to the museum was well worth the wait and I learned a couple tips for visiting that I’d like to share with you.
It may be because we visited the museum in one of the hottest days in New York City history, because it was Friday, because we visited over the summer when school was out, or a combination of the three, but the museum was extremely busy. If you’d like to avoid some of the crowd, my advice would be to arrive early on a weekday, purchase your tickets ahead of time, or purchase a New York City Explorer Pass which will not only save you time by allowing you to bypass the lines, but will also save you money.
To say that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is huge would be an understatement. I don’t remember ever visiting a larger museum. We spent four hours exploring the exhibits and only saw a fraction of the collection. Do a little bit of research before you go to make sure you see what you’re really interested in. A resource I whole heartedly recommend to help you get the most from your visit is a series of lectures by The Great Courses titled Museum Masterpieces: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Be sure to check your local library before your visit to New York City to see if it is available to borrow.
The series consists of 24 lectures that are each 30-minutes in length. The begin with an explanation of how the Metropolitan Museum of Art came to be followed by a lecture to cover each of the permanent exhibits as well as an introduction to the early donors of the museum.
There certainly isn’t enough time in the day to fully explore the entire museum and unless you want to completely exhaust yourself, I wouldn’t even try. Instead, consider focusing on one or two galleries. The DVD series allowed my son and I to learn a bit more about the pieces in the collection before our visit and to narrow down the specific exhibits or items that we wanted to see.
Audio guides are available for select exhibits and pieces of the collection for an additional charge. Guided tours of the museum are available and included free with admission for those that prefer to learn about the exhibits without reading all the exhibit labels.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is not just a great museum for those who love art; history lovers will also enjoy the exhibits and period rooms that are sprinkled throughout the museum.
Have you visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art? What tips would you add for exploring this amazing museum?
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