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The Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education

Following a three-year renovation and complete reconfiguration, the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education at The Metropolitan Museum of Art will reopen on October 23, 2007. The new Center will transform Museum experiences for students and teachers, teenagers and families, scholars and all visitors. It will provide an extraordinary range of new, high-tech features to train, inform, and inspire, and beautiful spaces in which to learn, beginning with the majestic and welcoming Diane W. Burke Hall.

The Center will include a unique art study room designed for teaching with original works of art; studio facilities; a lecture hall for talks, symposia, films, and other events; classrooms and seminar rooms; areas for welcoming school groups; and a greatly expanded library for teachers, students, and Museum visitors, with a special area for families.

"The Uris Center for Education is a gateway to the Metropolitan Museum's galleries, a bridge to the community in the broadest sense, and a threshold through which innumerable visitors will enter to learn about art," stated Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum. "Education has been fundamental to the Museum's mission since its founding in 1870, and the splendidly re-designed and re-equipped facilities of the Uris Center will now bring our illustrious 137 years record of education into the 21st century. Embracing both continuity and innovation, we hope to better educate this generation as well as those of the future."

Kent Lydecker, the Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Associate Director for Education, added: "Each year, the Metropolitan Museum presents more than 20,000 educational programs and events, and with the new Uris Center in operation, visitors will discover a wonderful new environment for learning, study, and inspiration. We hope that this space – with programs of consistently high quality and with increased opportunities via the new technologies – will help shape our visitors' encounter with art." He continued: "In the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education, we will explore new directions while affirming our core principles – through excellence in teaching and learning in all Museum programs, through new programs in art-making , and through innovative uses of technology,. Above all, we want to make sure that the Center – like our galleries – is a welcoming place for students, teachers, and the public to learn about art.

Visitors to the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education will enter through Burke Hall, an orientation area with projection screens and other dynamic displays. Visitors can either proceed to the galleries upstairs or to one or more of the new and well-equipped spaces within the Uris Center. The teaching spaces of the Center will include the:

• Meeting Hall, which will welcome visiting school classes and can also host festivals and other public activities on weekends or when schools are not in session.
• Art Study Room – a dedicated teaching space where scholars, students, and the public can study art from the Museum's encyclopedic collection with curators, educators, conservators, scientists and other experts. This state-of-the-art room will be equipped for teleconferencing and other media use.
• Lecture Hall, which seats up to 125 people.
• Studio, for activities that explore the processes of art making.
• Bonnie Sacerdote Classroom, an intimate setting for smaller gatherings.
• Carroll Classroom for classes and studio activities.
• Nolen Library, with books, videos, online resources, as well as wireless access, is the only Museum library open to all visitors. The Nolen Library also includes a special area for families.
• Teacher Resource Center, housing a wide variety of materials for teachers, curriculum designers, and art resource specialists.

All classrooms and lecture rooms will be equipped to document and archive lectures and presentations, and to support distance-learning and video-conferencing. High-speed communication networks will enable students, artists, and teachers using the Uris Center to have broad access to educators, students, and other museums around the world.

Education is part of the core mission of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum has a fundamental commitment to serve everyone: from the most advanced art scholar to the individual who has never visited an art museum; from the family with young children to the teenager discovering the visual arts independently; from the student immersed in class work to the teacher seeking help on how to bring art into the school curriculum. Basing its broad spectrum of activity on the Museum's renowned collections spanning more than 5,000 years of world history, and drawing on the expertise of its remarkable staff of curators, educators, conservators, scientists, and librarians, the Metropolitan plays a critical role in educating and inspiring visitors in their encounter with humankind's highest artistic achievements.

The project to create the New Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education has been directed by Kent Lydecker, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Associate Director for Education, with the support of the entire education and academic staff. Design of the new Uris Center is by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates.

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Press are invited to attend the Uris Center's inaugural day activities on Tuesday, October 23, 2007, which will also feature a ribbon-cutting as well as programs and demonstrations within the center. Details will be announced in the late summer.

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June 6, 2007

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