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Press release

Programs and Events on November 17-19 to Fête "William" the Hippo, Met Museum Mascot

One hundred years ago, a small, blue, ancient Egyptian faience hippopotamus was acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the past century, this tiny sculpture has acquired the nickname "William" and become The Met's unofficial mascot. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of "William" at The Met, a weekend of activities will take place November 17–19. All activities are free with Museum admission.

Friday, November 17

The weekend's events will start with two 30-minute sessions of Conversation with a Curator (6:30 and 7 p.m.). Associate Curator Isabel Stünkel will discuss the significance of hippopotami in ancient Egyptian art.
Floor 1, Gallery 132, Lila Acheson Wallace Galleries of Egyptian Art

This event is part of MetFridays: New York's Night Out.

Saturday, November 18

Fifteen-minute Pop-Up Chats in various gallery locations will be led by Met curators and conservators (12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, and 5:30 p.m.).
Meet on Floor 1, Gallery 132, Lila Acheson Wallace Galleries of Egyptian Art

12:30 p.m.: "Reading Nedjemankh's Golden Coffin"
Janice Kamrin, Associate Curator, Department of Egyptian Art

1:30 p.m.: "An Early Goddess"
Diana Craig Patch, Lila Acheson Wallace Curator in Charge, Department of Egyptian Art

2:30 p.m.: "Blue"
Deborah Schorsch, Conservator, Department of Objects Conservation

3:30 p.m.: "The Power of Hippopotami"
Isabel Stünkel, Associate Curator, Department of Egyptian Art

4:30 p.m.: "Life in a Middle Kingdom Village"
Marsha Hill, Curator, Department of Egyptian Art

5:30 p.m.: "Textiles in Ancient Egypt"
Emilia Cortes, Conservator, Department of Textile Conservation
Met Egyptologists at an "Ask the Curator" station (noon—6:00 p.m.) will answer visitors' questions about ancient Egypt.
Floor 1, Gallery 132, Lila Acheson Wallace Galleries of Egyptian Art

There will be a "William"-focused gallery activity for children participating in Art Trek, (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.). Start with Art at The Met will include a reading of a children's story about Egyptian art (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.).

At the Museum's Nolen Library, Storytime—a program for children ages 3–6—will feature stories about "William" and other hippos (3–3:30 p.m.)

Sunday, November 19 (11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)
Children with learning or development disabilities and accompanying friends and family members will enjoy Musical Zoo—a gallery tour and art activity. This event is part of The Met Discovery program, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and is free with Museum admission. (Reservations are required. Contact 212-650-2010 or

For Education program funders, visit

Other Programs and Events

A feature on The Museum's website includes blogposts about the special display Conversation Between Two Hippos, how "William" got his name, a technical examination by Met conservators, a video about the symbolism of hippos in ancient Egyptian art, a 360-degree panorama of the sculpture, and MetKids blogposts.

An interactive social media activity, imagining a conversation between two hippos, is ongoing on The Met's Facebook page.

In the Museum's Thomas J. Watson Library, the 1931 Punch article that originated the nickname "William" and the 1931 reprint in The Met Bulletin will be displayed Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18.

Throughout the weekend, a "William"-themed cookie and a specialty cocktail will be available for purchase in the Museum's American Wing Café and Great Hall Balcony Bar, respectively.
"William"-themed merchandise has been available at The Met Store since 1927, when the Store launched a line of color collotype print reproductions of works in the collection. The first 3D reproductions of "William" were added in 1952, with other items to follow. This year, to celebrate the anniversary of "William," new merchandise—ties, a scarf, tote bag, and holiday ornament among other gifts—will be added. The full selection can be found at

The Met Fifth Avenue Main Shop will host a coloring activity on Saturday, November 18, noon–6 p.m.

Schedule subject to change

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November 9, 2017

Image: Hippopotamus ("William"). Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret I–Senwosret II (ca. 1961–1878 B.C.). Faience. From Meir, tomb B3; Said Bey Khashaba excavations, 1910. Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1917 (17.9.1). Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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