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Perspectives MetKids Microscope

Art Under X-Ray: What’s Inside the Art?

Aug 26, 2021 4 MINUTES

Art is full of mysteries that can’t be revealed by a quick glance. How do we see what’s hiding inside objects and learn how they were made and repaired? We use an x-ray machine, just like you’d find at the doctor’s office!

#MetKids Microscope is a show about the science behind the art (and the art behind the science!) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Learn true stories about real discoveries from scientists at the Museum, and do some experiments on your own!

Do Not Not Try This at Home: See Through an Eggshell

Difficulty level: 2/5


Uncooked egg
2 cups of white vinegar
Glass jar


1. Pour two cups of white vinegar into a glass jar.
2. Place an uncooked egg into the jar. Make sure the vinegar completely covers the egg.

Leave the egg in the vinegar overnight! (12 hours or more)

3. Carefully remove the egg from the vinegar.
4. Gently rub the egg with your fingers to remove the shell. If the shell is not coming off easily, place the egg in the jar with fresh vinegar.

What do you notice? Can you see inside?

What do you think the vinegar did to the eggshell?

Head of Digital Content: Sofie Andersen
Executive Producer: Sarah Wambold
Director/Writer/Producer: Benjamin Korman
Animation Direction: Lisa LaBracio
Art Direction: Lisa LaBracio
Design + Illustration: Tara Sunil Thomas
Animation: Sara Zarul Azham, Lisa LaBracio
Experiment Photography: Mia Nacamulli
Production Coordinators: Lela Jenkins, Emma Masdeu-Perez
Narrator: Corin Wells, Debbie Schorsch
Education Consultants: Emily Blumenthal, Darcy-Tell Morales, Julie Marie Seibert
Episode Consultants: Debbie Schorsch, Isabel Stuenkel, Marco Leona
Original Music: Austin Fisher
Sound Mix: Dave Raymond
Additional Photography: Peter Berson
Special Thanks: Téo Nacamulli Tabet

Charles K. Wilkinson. Facsimile of a falcon protecting the king, New Kingdom period, ca. 1479–1458 B.C. From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri. Tempera on paper, 29 1/8 x 47 5/8 in. (74 x 121 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1930 (30.4.139)

Falcon statue serving as a sarcophagus for a sacred animal, Late period–Ptolemaic period, 664–30 B.C. From Egypt. Cupreous metal, animal remains, 9 1/8 x 1 3/8 x 7 1/8 in. (23.2 x 3.3 x 18.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1925 (25.2.11)

Sacred animal mummy of an ibis, Late Period–Roman period ca. 400 B.C.–100 A.D. From Egypt, Northern Upper Egypt, Abydos, Ibis Cemetery, Egypt Exploration Fund excavations, 1912–13, Late Period–Roman Period. Dyed and undyed linen, animal remains, mummification materials, 16 1/8 x 4 15/16 x 6 15/16 in. (41 x 12.5 x 17.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Egypt Exploration Fund, 1913 (13.186.8) 

Cat Statuette intended to contain a mummified cat, Ptolemaic period, 332–30 B.C. From Egypt. Leaded bronze, 12 5/8 x 4 5/8 x 9 1/8 in. (32 x 11.9 x 23.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1956 (56.16.1)

Bowl, 12th–13th century. Attributed to Iran. Stonepaste; overglaze painted (mina'i), 3 3/4 x 8 1/2 in. (9.5 x 21.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac D. Fletcher Collection, Bequest of Isaac D. Fletcher, 1917 (17.120.41)

Disk with Owl, 6th–7th century. Peru. Moche culture (Loma Negra). Gilded copper, silvered copper, shell, 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 in. (26.7 x 26.7 x 2.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Bequest of Jane Costello Goldberg, from the Collection of Arnold I. Goldberg, 1986 (1987.394.56)

Standing warrior, Early Bronze Age, ca. late 3rd millennium B.C. Syria-Levant, Early Bronze Age. Copper, 16 1/8 x 3 3/8 x 2 3/4 in. (41 x 8.5 x 7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989 (1989.281.9)

Images © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

© 2021 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

#MetKids is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies

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