The Met and You: What's Your Met Story?
It's with particular excitement that we welcome 2020, as this year marks the 150th anniversary of The Met's founding, on April 13, 1870. For the past 150 years, this Museum has been a transformative space for visitors, shaping the ways we see art and the world. This is a place, whether visited in person or online, where anyone can make a connection to the past, celebrate creativity, feed our curiosity, and experience our shared humanity.
As we've been preparing for this milestone year, I've been reflecting on how the history and incredible work of the Museum informs its role and meaning in the world today. The Met's founding is a great story: what now appears to be a timeless institution began without a collection, staff, or even a building, rather with the ambitious idea of a group of civic-minded New Yorkers whose passion is still alive today. I've been hearing many compelling stories about the Museum, from prominent historic moments, such as Egypt's gift of the Temple of Dendur to the United States in 1965 or the massive draw of the Mona Lisa when we displayed the painting in 1963, to many personal memories from our visitors and staff.
That's why, for the anniversary year, The Met is launching Met Stories, a yearlong video series and social-media initiative that will feature captivating stories we've gathered from the many people who visit The Met.
From memories of once-in-a-lifetime visits to the extraordinary every day, the videos will share intimate moments and unexpected perspectives: a couple's marriage proposal, a war veteran's recovery from post-traumatic stress in the Greek and Roman wing, a Native American artist grappling with the erasure of indigenous art, and a staff member's encounter with a work of art that spoke to her experience of racism. Reflections on inspiration, cultural continuity, and museums' places in the world meet memories of life changes, loss, breakthroughs, and more.
I've been struck by how The Met plays a unique role in each person's life—whether you visited as a student, remember attending a special exhibition or performance, or had a surprising encounter with a work of art (or even with a fellow visitor). We're especially interested in hearing your stories. Share them on social media using the hashtag #MyMetStory or submit your story at metmuseum.org/MyMetStory. For more inspiration, take a look at our first episode, "Looking Back to Look Forward," online now, and hear how dancer and choreographer Silas Farley, educator and former host of Project Runway Tim Gunn, and Met image archivist Stephanie Post have all found meaning at the Museum.
This is #MyMetStory
One of my most memorable moments at the Museum happened on my first visit, when I was just eight years old. My parents were both deeply involved in the arts—my father was an architect, my mother a fashion designer—and as a child our vacation plans relentlessly reflected their passion for museums. Back then, I would have much rather been going to the beach. But even in that resistant state of mind, The Met made a huge impression on me.
It was my first trip to New York City, and coming from Vienna, Austria, everything in this city felt big, loud, and grand. I'll never forget the experience of climbing up the towering front steps with my sister and entering the Great Hall, with its soaring domes and enormous bouquets of flowers. The scale was overwhelming, and the experience stuck with me. In particular, I remember being in awe of the Egyptian galleries and Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30). Eventually, what started as a family ritual of museum visits matured into a passion of my own and then a profession, and here I am at The Met again, still struck by its enormity and still finding connections in the galleries.
Now it's your turn—what's your Met Story? We can't wait to hear it.
Find out about our celebrations throughout the anniversary year here. You can see works of art that were given on the occasion of the anniversary, visit our upcoming exhibition Making The Met, 1870–2020 (on view March 30 through August 2, 2020), which examines our own history, and be part of dynamic programs for all audiences in and around The Met, especially during our celebratory weekend from June 4 through June 6, 2020. We look forward to all The Met Stories yet to be written this anniversary.