Plan Ahead

Visiting Manet/Degas?

You must join the virtual queue. Read the additional visitor guidelines.

Blogs/ Digital Underground/ The Museum, ca. 1913: Celebrating J. Pierpont Morgan's Legacy

The Museum, ca. 1913: Celebrating J. Pierpont Morgan's Legacy

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue Façade

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue façade; View with people, facing west. Photographed April 27, 1910. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. See slideshow

The cover of the Museum's April 1913 Bulletin was devoted exclusively to J. Pierpont Morgan's contributions to the Museum during his lifetime. It read: "J. Pierpont Morgan / Great Citizen of Great Heart, Great Mind, Great Will / Knowing that art is necessary to upholding the ideals of a nation he gave to this Museum generously of his possessions and more generously of himself."

Morgan gifted and bequeathed over seven thousand works of art to the Museum, and a new wing ("Addition F") was added to house the expansive collection of European sculpture and decorative arts he purchased from the renowned collector Georges Hoentschel, which included works from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries. These objects were purchased "primarily for the benefit of the craftsmen and designers of our country" and arranged chronologically; the wing was planned with a "definite knowledge of, and with direct reference to, the collections it was to contain" (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 3, Mar. 1910)

This careful and thoughtful planning by Morgan extended to the Museum's educational outreach, which took the form of a "circular of information" and guided tours. The circular was available at each Museum entrance, and gave a detailed checklist of the collection that could be "found useful by those desiring to find a special class of objects." As stated in the April 1913 Bulletin, guided tours were available for:

Members, visitors, and teachers desiring to see the collections of the Museum under expert guidance, [who] may secure the services of the member of the staff detailed for this purpose on application to the Secretary. An appointment should preferably be made.

This service will be free to members and to teachers in the public schools, as well as to pupils under their guidance. To all others a charge of twenty-five cents per person will be made, with a minimum charge of one dollar an hour.

These initiatives provide another clue toward understanding the role of the Museum historically. Then, and still today, Morgan's legacy gives visitors the opportunity to explore and discover the Museum with a guide, or independently—an objective that remains paramount for a positive, meaningful visitor experience.

Department: Digital

{{ article.postDate }}