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(New York City, April 14, 2000)-The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Fleet today announced an innovative "student pass" program that will provide free admission to the Metropolitan for schoolchildren and their families from all five boroughs of New York City this fall. Expected to reach the 1.5 million kindergarten through high-school students in public, private, and parochial schools, this is the broadest school pass program yet undertaken by the Metropolitan Museum. This outreach program will coincide with the Museum's presentation of Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825-1861 - a landmark exhibition of the visual arts in America between the opening of the Erie Canal and the start of the Civil War - that will be on view from September 19, 2000, through January 7, 2001. The announcement was made at a news conference today at which the Museum unveiled plans for the exhibition.

The exhibition and the student pass program are made possible by Fleet.

Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan, commented: "With the generous support of Fleet, the sponsor of Art and the Empire City and an array of related educational programs, we are pleased to provide this unsurpassed opportunity for children and families to explore the Museum and celebrate the art of their city. We hope that this program will offer not only a new and exciting context for them to view the treasures of the Metropolitan, but will also instill in them a new level of familiarity and appreciation for art."

"Fleet is delighted to sponsor this exhibition and landmark educational program," said Terrence Murray, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fleet. "By encouraging museum attendance among 1.5 million students, their families, and their teachers throughout New York City, we are continuing two traditions Fleet is passionate about: youth development and support of the arts. Combined with the family guide, the program will bring a taste of this historically important exhibition into the classroom."

At the start of the fall school term, the passes will be delivered to all New York City schools for classroom distribution. Each pass will consist of two parts - the actual pass, which is valid for one visit to the Museum for the student with his or her family, and a family guide, which highlights objects in the Art and the Empire City exhibition that will be of particular interest to students. This is the first time that the Museum will produce a family guide in combination with a student pass for all New York City students.

In addition to the student pass program, the Museum is developing a range of programs for students, teachers, and the general public in conjunction with Art and the Empire City. Noteworthy among these are a one-day conference for teachers, documentary films, concerts, lectures, writing classes for junior-high and high-school students, a limited number of self-guided tour appointments for school groups, a family festival, and programs for families to be held offsite in neighborhood centers and schools throughout the community. A scholarly symposium has also been scheduled.

"Every New Yorker's greatest treasure is the Metropolitan Museum," said Kent Lydecker, Associate Director for Education at the Metropolitan. "We welcome 200,000 students on school visits through our doors each year, and with this greatly expanded program linked to Art and the Empire City we are going the extra mile to reach out to every student in New York City, so that they - with their families - can be introduced to the cultural riches of their own city."

To distribute the passes, the Metropolitan Museum will work with not only the New York City Board of Education but also the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, and a network of administrators of other schools, including private and parochial schools, with the goal of reaching every one of the 1.5 million schoolchildren in the city.

For more information about these programs, call the Museum's Education Department at (212) 570-3756.

For information about Fleet, contact:
Rena DeSisto

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April 14, 2000

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