Parent Page/Current Page

Metropolitan Museum to Commemorate 9/11 Anniversary by Exhibiting Fire Department Sign-Out Boards, Preserved by the Met's Conservation Department

Admissions Revenues to be Donated to Museum's Local Firehouse

(NEW YORK, September 6, 2002)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced plans to observe the first anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center with the exhibition of a recently restored 9/11 relic, a series of musical performances, poetry readings, and publication of a specially prepared list of curators' choices of works of art that express the myriad of emotions evoked by both the tragedy and the city's recovery.

Unique among the commemorative presentations will be the first public display, for one week only, of the restored relic: two chalkboards used by firefighters who were dispatched to the World Trade Center from the nearby Engine Company 22 and Ladder Company 13 last September 11. Nine of those firefighters perished. The chalkboards were painstakingly preserved by the Museum's conservators.

Admissions revenues collected at the Metropolitan Museum's main building and The Cloisters on September 11, 2002, will be donated to the Engine 22 and Ladder 13 Family Fund.

Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum, commented: "Last year, in the weeks following September 11, the Museum opened its doors to many who sought a place of solace and contemplation. As the nation – and the world – move from loss to recovery, mankind's greatest artistic achievements continue to serve as symbols of strength and sources of hope."

Chalkboards from Engine Company 22 and Ladder Company 13
On view in The Charles Engelhard Court in The American Wing from Tuesday, September 10, through Sunday, September 15, will be the two chalkboards – known as riding boards – used by firefighters from neighboring Engine Company 22 and Ladder Company 13 who were dispatched to the World Trade Center last September 11. Among the names listed are those of nine who were lost. The chalkboards were restored, preserved, and framed for the firehouse by staff of the Museum's Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation. Normally housed at the firehouse, which is located on East 85th Street, the chalkboards are on view at the Museum for this week only, after which they will be returned permanently to Engine Company 22.

The two riding boards still bear – printed in chalk – the names of the firemen who signed out of the firehouse on the morning of September 11. New oak frames that will protect the chalkboards behind a layer of automobile safety glass were designed by the Museum's Chief Designer, Jeff Daly. The delicate restoration of the boards themselves was overseen by Tony Frantz, Conservator in Charge – and also involved two Museum Conservators, John Canonico and Shinichi Doi. One of the slate boards, which had been broken and hastily repaired at the firehouse in the confusion of the September 11 tragedy, was pieced together and stabilized by Mr. Doi. Brass aerators filled with copper screening were custom-designed and fitted into the oak frames by Mr. Canonico.

The story of the chalkboards' restoration was featured in The New York Times ("With Chalk on Slate, History Is Preserved: Firehouse Lists Tell of 9/11 And the Men Who Didn't Return") on May 17, and was covered on local, national, and international television (including NY-1, WNBC, WCBS, and CNN) on May 17 and 18.

Curators' Choices
To mark the 9/11 anniversary, curators in many of the Metropolitan's departments have selected works of art from their permanent collections that they feel express humankind's indomitable spirit. Located throughout the Museum, the works represent every culture and every time in history, and communicate the universal emotions of despair and hope, mourning and recovery, loss and renewal. A full, annotated list of these works will be given to every visitor to the Museum during the week of September 10-15, as a guide to their location and meaning. The list will also be available on the Museum's Web site (www.metmuseum.org).

Music at Midday
Music of Remembrance – a program of free midday concerts of classical music – will take place on September 11, 2002, in the Medieval Sculpture Hall and will feature the following performers: 11:00 a.m., Judith Serkin and friends (celli); noon, Parthenia (viols); 1:00 p.m., Stephanie Chase (violin); 2:00 p.m., Paula Robison (flute); and 3:00 p.m., Edward Arron and friends (strings). The concerts are free to all Museum visitors.

Poetry Readings
Actors Christopher Cartmill and Michelle Hurst will deliver a dramatic reading of poetry of affirmation and transcendence on September 11 at 10 a.m. and at 4:00 p.m. in The Charles Engelhard Court in the Museum's American Wing. The readings – which will last approximately 50 minutes – will include some two dozen works by the poets W. H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Delmore Schwartz, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson among others. A list of titles and authors of the poems will be distributed to the public at both performances. The 4:00 p.m. performance will be sign-language interpreted. The readings are free to all Museum visitors.

The concerts were organized by the Museum's Department of Concerts and Lectures and the poetry readings were organized by the Education Department.

Exhibition of New York Photographs Extended
The exhibition New York, New York: Photographs from the Collection has been extended to September 15. The display – which depicts the architectural treasures of New York City and the vitality of her people in photographs taken between 1850 and 1970 – was originally scheduled to close in August.

Gallery Talks Focus on Theme of Remembrance
At The Cloisters, "The Art of Remembrance in the Middle Ages" will be the title of two gallery talks taking place at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Located in northern Manhattan, The Cloisters is the branch of the Metropolitan Museum featuring the art and architecture of medieval Europe. The gallery talks are free to all Museum visitors.

# # #

Press resources