Major NYC cultural institution
Metropolitan Museum of Art website
The museum matters because it is a bastion of gracious humanism, the changing shapes of beauty, successively challenging ideas, and history in the widest sense.
Its galleries encompass our planet's visual culture, from the beginning to the present day. One can be stimulated by lectures, tours, music, or imaginary time travel as one is absorbed into pictures and objects. Or one can experience its galleries as sanctuaries for solitary reverie.
The genteel late-19th century architecture, with a few modern counterpoints of expanses of slanted glass walls in the Temple of Dendur and African wing, demonstrate the stable, rational grace of classicism. If the building became modern, corporate, stark, and brightly lit, like MOMA, it would no longer be a quiet, graceful haven.
It is, however, being affected by the swelling crowds drawn to its exhibitions, which frequently are too crowded and busy. (May 2008)
Under the grand staircase, the exposed brick support arches make a perfect display for the ancient artifacts, and an intimate and peaceful place to meet friends.