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The main entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

PREVIEW:  Before you go, check out the Met's Greek and Roman art collection at this website: The Met's Greek and Roman Art .  Use the online pictures to choose tentatively a topic you might write about for your museum essay, due October 23.  But also feel free to change your mind once you see the objects themselves at the museum.

Before October 23, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Ancient Greek Art exhibits.  Before you go, download onto a CD or onto your mp3 player or iPod my podcast "Homer's World," from http://jjcmediaserver.jjay.cuny.edu/.  On that page, click on the "Weblogs" link under "Available Services" on the right.  Then click on "Pat Licklider's weblog." and then on "Podcast."  Then  to download the podcast, follow whatever procedure you would normally use when downloading a song or video to your iPod or mp3 player or onto a CD.

Before heading to the museum, read over the topics for the museum paper at Writing Assignments to see which one you might write on.  Bring with you to the museum a CD player or your mp3 or iPod loaded with my podcast, as well as a pen and notebook .  To prove that you went to the museum, hand in with your 3-page essay:

When you go, you must pay something.  DO NOT pay the "Suggested" fee. Give no more than $1-2.00.  As a CUNY student, you shouldn't have to pay at all.  Do not be intimidated by the admissions people.  I will have your receipt, so no more than $1-2.00!!  Besides allowing you to write the museum essay, due October 16, this visit will earn you an easy 5 points for your final grade since I give everyone who goes the full 5 points (the equivalent of an A).  


The museum is on 5th Ave between 80th and 84th Sts. Enter by walking up the big flight of stairs on 5th Ave. 

The Lexington Avenue train stops at Lex. Ave. & 86th Street (express and local); the C train stops at Central Park West and 86th Street; and the #1 train stops at Broadway & 86th St. The crosstown #86 bus goes across 86 St. from the West Side, through Central Park, and to the East Side, stopping just north of the museum at Fifth Ave. The 79 Street crosstown bus also stops at Fifth Ave. just south of the museum. From John Jay, take the #1 train to 86th St., and then take the #86 crosstown bus, using your Metrocard free transfer.  Get out at Fifth Ave.  If you want to drive, there is a parking garage in the museum (enter on Fifth Ave. just south of the museum building). It's expensive, though you can get a small discount by having your ticket validated when you get your admission button.

Plan on spending at least 2 hours in the museum.


Tues, Wed, Thur, Sunday: 9:30 am-5:15 pm

Friday & Saturday: 9:30 am-8:15 pm  (These evening hours are not crowded, and there are snacks and free music on the second-floor balcony.)

CLOSED MONDAYS, BUT SPECIAL MONDAY, Oct. 8, Columbus Day, Museum is OPEN (and not full).

(The busiest days are Saturdays and Sundays, but on Saturday, Sept. 22, Yom Kipper, it will probably not be as crowded.)


Pay no more than $1-2.00 admission.  Disregard the "Suggested" fee.  You will then be given a receipt and a colored metal button for your lapel, which shows you have paid admission or been admitted for that day. The color changes daily. This button allows you to leave and re-enter the museum as many times as you wish in one day, so you can go outside to Central Park or to eat or to shop and then return to the museum later.  Save this button to hand in with your essay.

The Ancient Greek Art exhibits are on the first floor to the left of the big round info desk in the center of the main hall as you come in.  (Ask at this desk for directions to any other exhibit that interests you, or ask the guards.)  Once inside the Greek galleries, follow my podcast as a guide to what you are seeing.

As you walk around, consider the paper topics, and choose the objects you will write about.  Choose pieces that strike you as particularly beautiful and that also pertain to the topic you've chosen. Then using the "Slow Looking" Questions below, take extensive notes on your chosen pieces of art.  Be sure you use quotation marks for material you copy from the museum's information on walls and in cases.   


Here are some other exhibits you might also like to visit after the Greek galleries:

1. the new Roman galleries beyond the Greek galleries

2.  The extensive collection of Egyptian art on the first floor to the right of the main lobby

3. Art of India on the second floor above Egyptian art. 

4. Chinese painting and the restful Chinese garden nearby are on the second floor above Egyptian art and beyond Indian art.

5. Medieval art and armor on the first floor. See tapestries of medieval scenes, and then go through the medieval art to the armor exhibit of knights on horseback. Kids love these!

6. The giant Christmas tree surrounded by Neapolitan Christmas figure (this is set up after Thanksgiving)

7. European paintings on the second floor at the top of the grand inner staircase at the back of the lobby. Look for paintings of the naked Venus (Aphrodite) by Titian and Veronese.

8. African art on the first floor, at the end of the corridor to the left of the lobby, just beyond the Greek galleries.



Once you are in the Greek galleries at the museum, walk the tour, looking at the objects listed on the directions and taking note of at least three you find especially interesting. When you have walked the whole tour, go back to the three objects you liked, read the museum label for each, and take extensive notes on each, using the questions below to help you look slowly, thoughtfully, and broadly at each one. Plan to spend 7-10 minutes on each of the objects. Then later, use your notes to help you write your museum paper, due October 23.

First Impressions: What strikes you first as you look at the object? What attracts you to this piece? Look away for a count of ten. Look back. What more meets your eye?

Zero In: What details do you notice in the object? How are they arranged in relation to one another? What details do you not understand? Does the museum label help? If you can walk around the object, what details do you see on other sides? How do the different details fit together? Do they seem to tell a story?

Back Up: If you�ve been looking at the details, move a short distance away from the object and look at it as a whole. What more or what else do you see? How does this far view differ from the close-up view? Again, if you can walk around it from a distance, does the object have another side that presents anything further to your eye?

Fragments: Much of the art salvaged from ancient Greece was discovered in pieces that have been painstakingly reassembled. Does the piece you are looking at show any evidence of this process? If something is missing, how does this gap affect you as you look? What might the missing part be?

Other Physical Features: What about the object�s color? Shape? Size? Overall patterns?

The Maker: How might this piece have been made? (Use the museum labels and wall texts for help.) What tools might the maker have used? Can you see any evidence of these on the object�s surface? What do you think must have been difficult to do? Easy? Why do you think it was made?

Use, Location, Historical Context: How was this object used? Where might it have been seen? What other sorts of objects might have been with it or around it? Was it ordinary (Everybody had one) or unusual (Only the rich could afford it)? (Often, the museum puts objects together in the same case or area of a gallery that �belonged� together in their original ancient Greek context. Thus, kraters used to mix wine with water are displayed with cups for drinking the beverage.)

Look away, Go away: Stop looking for about 20-30 seconds. Walk away to another object. Then return to the one you�ve been looking at closely. What surprises you about this piece? What questions do you still have about it that you�d like answered?