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Sunday, July 10, 2011

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - An Art Museum

An Art Museum

First of all, I know you are saying to yourself, "haven't they finished these 101 Places by now?" 
No, actually we are telling you today about the 49th place we've seen.
It's as hard for me to believe that we're barely half-way through as it must be for you!
You can read about the other 48 Places We've Seen at this link.

There are a lot of Art Museums in New York City and we knew we wanted to take the boys to visit at least one.  Hard to believe but after all the museums we've visited on our travels, we haven't been to a proper art museum.  We decided on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) on the day we were visiting Central Park.

But first, Dad and Thomas walked up to The Guggenheim.
Thomas is really interested in architecture these days and we knew the Guggenheim was one worth seeing, even if we couldn't visit it properly.

Really cool

Behind The Met is an Egyptian Obelisk called Cleopatra's Needle.
Three obelisks were re-erected in New York, London, and Paris in the 19th century.
Cleopatra's Needle is a misnomer because the ancient obelisks are actually 1,000 years older than Cleopatra (about 2000 years old).
The obelisk was a gift to the US for remaining friendly to Egypt as France and Britain maneuvered to secure political control of the Egyptian government in the 1800s. 

The front and back of The Met look pretty different.  This is the main entrance with the famous steps.
A great meeting spot and place to have lunch.
The steps stayed pretty full the entire time we were there, and even after the museum closed. 

I couldn't find a good photo on Google images but we remembered The Met from the book and movie, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief - a favorite of our boys.  In the story Percy's class goes to The Met and Pierce Brosnan reveals himself to be more than just a kindly professor.

There are over 2 million works of art at The Met, and as usual, we barely scratched the surface when the museum was ready to close.  David and I were really excited for the boys to see ancient art and works by the masters so we walked through as much as we could. 

Thomas and Brennan were surprisingly very interested in the museum.  They took the camera and were disappointed we didn't have more time.  Here are a few photos.

This is the back area (facing into Central Park) of The Met. 

From Wikipedia:  Represented in the permanent collection are works of art from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met also maintains extensive holdings of African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine, and Islamic art.

Thomas has always been interested in Egypt so we made time to see the Egyptian collection - with more than 35,000 pieces of art from as far back as the Paleolithic period.  Here are some of his photos.

Brennan and I stepped into the Guitar Heroes collection.  Beautifully crafted guitars from all over the world.

This is the fountain to the right of the steps in front of the museum, facing 5th Avenue.

If I had another day in NYC I would have spent at least part of it exploring the rest of Central Park and The Met.  And, it would have been fun to visit more of the Art Museums along 5th Avenue and Central Park - like The Whitney and The Frick.  So many possibilities!

From the Book:
#18 - An Art Museum
Art can take you places you've never been - to faraway countries, imaginary worlds, the ancient past, or even to a feeling.  That's why a visit to an art museum is like going to a million different places all at once:  a park in Paris, circa 1900; the streets of Florence during the Renaissance; a mountaintop in China, centuries ago.  Art takes you there.  Sometimes an art museum can make you nervous or overwhelmed - there's so much to see, and some art you just don't get.  That's okay.  Nobody likes everything in a museum, and sometimes the "great" art just doesn't do it for you.  But keep an open mind, and somewhere you're sure to find something that takes you someplace you've always wanted to go.

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