Thursday, March 28, 2013

KidLit Pilgrimage: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

My kids are on spring break this week, and we're having a little staycation.  They've recently discovered the Percy Jackson series and have developed an interest in Greek mythology. We've lived in New Jersey for almost three years now, and we've gone to many of the local museums, but I'd never taken the kids to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I asked if they might be interested in going to check out some of the Greek and Roman antiquities, and I got a resounding YES!

We had a wonderful time, and I was very pleased that the museum offered a guide for kids based on the Percy Jackson books.  It led us through three galleries (Greek, Roman, and European sculpture) and pointed out works that would be appealing to kids.  We had a lot of fun entering the galleries and looking for the pieces spotlighted in the brochure.  Three cheers for the people who put that together!

The Met always loomed large in my mind as a child, even as a Midwesterner who'd never been to New York City, because it's featured in so many children's books.  The most obvious, of course, is the beloved and wonderful From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg.

It's still the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the Met, and I was thrilled to see the museum acknowledge it with a museum guide for kids based on the novel.  I haven't introduced this book to my kids yet, but when I do, I'm sure we'll be up for another field trip.

Then, of course, there's Olivia the pig, with some pointed commentary on the works of Jackson Pollock.

We didn't make it upstairs to the Modern & Contemporary Art wing on this visit, but when I went with my mother last year, we did take a picture of this and email it to my niece, a big Olivia fan.

The last stop we made at the Met was the amazing Temple of Dendur, an ancient Egyptian temple that was moved brick by brick and rebuilt in the Sackler wing, in an amazing room that is full of natural light.

(Photo by Ana Lopez)

The Temple of Dendur features prominently in the YA classic Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, and when I first visited the Met as a teenager, I was so excited to recognize something I'd read about.  (I still haven't been to the Cloisters yet, which I will admit I was first introduced to by the Baby-Sitters Club Super Special where they visit New York.)

The Met is such an icon that I'm sure I'm missing some other classic kids books that feature it or its artwork. Tell me: what did I omit?

No comments:

Post a Comment