Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York City

When we were planning our trip to New York I read a bunch of books set in New York with my kids. Their favourite one was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler which is about a brother and a sister who run away from home and live at the Met for a week.  So we had to make a trip to the Met while were were in New York.
One of the many treasures we stumbled upon while looking for bathrooms
The first thing you need to know about The Met is that it is huge.  You won't be able to see it all in one visit.  You can find a bunch of suggested itineraries on the Met website or you can make your own based on the interests of you and your kids.   They don't have a Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler tour, mainly because some of the places and items in the book either aren't there anymore or never existed but there is this handy guide that for some reason is buried in the media section of the Met's website. They also have a bunch of information booklets about various parts of the Museum.  
No touching!  But you can hang out with the statues.  
You will want to check out the website and gallery map before arriving so you have some sense of where the things that interest you are in the gallery.  My kids wanted to see the Egyptian galleries, the Armory and the late 19th and early 20th century French paintings.  So we made sure to hit those areas and see the highlights.  My daughters loved the Armory which has dozens of full sized suits of armour, some of them on horseback.  Their favourite painting was "Joan of Arc" on the second floor in hallway leading to the Impressionist gallery.
Alas, there was no postcard of this one in the gift shop.  
We also discovered all kinds of great stuff wandering around (usually lost).  The American Wing is great and definitely worth a visit as are the Medieval galleries. If you are looking for a quiet spot to take a break for a bit the Chinese garden in the Asian Art section on the second floor is lovely, bright and peaceful.  They even have a Koi pond.  My daughters loved it.
Taking a break in the Chinese garden
Things to keep in mind:
  • Kids under 12 are free.  Adults are $25 each though.
  • The Met is located on the perimeter of Central Park.  You can take the subway to the 86th Street station and then walk the few blocks to the Museum or take the bus.
  • If the weather is nice you can go outside to have a picnic in the park.  They do also have places to eat inside the Met including a cafeteria downstairs and a small cafe by the American Wing.   
  • They have a coat and parcel check and it is free.  
  • No flash photography allowed in the Museum.  

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