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Exhibitions/ Art for the Community: The Met’s Circulating Textile Exhibitions, 1933–42

Art for the Community: The Met’s Circulating Textile Exhibitions, 1933–42

At The Met Fifth Avenue
October 31, 2020–June 27, 2021

Exhibition Overview

In honor of The Met's 150th anniversary, Art for the Community will highlight a series of groundbreaking exhibitions organized by the Museum between 1933 and 1942. Almost a quarter of New York City's population visited "Neighborhood Circulating Exhibitions," which were developed in response to an inquiry from a Queens high school teacher. This remarkable initiative brought selections from the Museum's collection to as many New Yorkers as possible, through a series of small, traveling exhibitions displayed in high schools, public libraries, and other public institutions across the five boroughs.

This installation will showcase the important role of European textiles in this educational effort, with a selection of textiles displayed alongside documents from The Met's archives. These highlights will be reunited with an extraordinary series of 1930s photographs capturing the original events, their locations, and their visitors. Exhibits will range from Italian Renaissance velvet to French eighteenth-century printed cotton, and will include the first showing in decades of The Met's exquisite cope made for Antonio Barberini, nephew of the infamous Pope Urban VIII.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

Exhibition Objects

"Caravans of Art": The Neighborhood Circulating Exhibition Series, 1933–42

Theodore Roosevelt High School (The Bronx, New York): Arms and Armor (opened February 9, 1939); With teacher and students visiting the exhibition. Photographed February 1939

In this blog post, senior digital asset specialist Stephanie Post details the origins and history of the Neighborhood Circulating Exhibition Series. Read now.

Green Silk Damask, Italian, Venice or Genoa, (ca. 1650–1700). 19 3/4 x 22 1/4 in. (50.2 x 56.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1909 (09.50.1348); "European Textiles and Costume Figures," with students and a teacher from Hunter College’s new Bronx campus, Walton High School, 2780 Reservoir Avenue, The Bronx, 1939