I took advantage of the Smithsonian Media's free Museum Day yesterday by printing out a ticket for The Morgan Library & Museum. Friend Barbara has always raved about it, and it's one New York jewel I'd not explored. So, Desire + Free + Saturday = Shorty Hits The Morgan. There was only one massive disappointment, but I'll get to that later.
Seems old Pierpont Morgan, Sr. was quite the collector of manuscripts and artifacts, and fortunately Pierpont, Jr. saw fit to give the public access to these treasures in 1924. It seems kind of a hodge-podge of buildings. Well, hodge-podge isn't the right term. Maybe, "distinctive" is better.There's a big old brownstone, the McKim buiding, a museum annex, and a new Renzo Piano expansion.
Current special exhibits feature Roy Lichtenstein drawings, Mark Twain manuscripts and letters (what splendid handwriting the man had!) , Degas drawings and sketchbooks, and photos, film, and artifacts from Anne Morgan's volunteer work in France after World War I. As a WWI aficianado I found the Anne Morgan exhibit really interesting and quite a tribute to the women who went to France after the war to set up libraries, schools, and hospitals in one of the devastated areas.
My big disappointment is that the McKim building is undergoing renovation and won't open again until the end of October. I was looking forward to seeing Mr. Morgan's study and library and the rest of that gorgeous building, but, alas, it was not to be. Not this time. Sigh.
The Morgan is one of the few places in NYC that doesn't allow photography inside the building, so I can only offer you a few exterior shots. But check out the museum's webside for lovely pictures of the interior and exhibits.
And a reminder: Do yo'self a favor and check out free Museum Day next year. Seems to be a great selection of museums all over the country, so start planning now to make out like a bandit. I mean, what J. P. Morgan paid a gazillion dollars for, I got to see for free yesterday.