If you’re fascinated by New York architecture and history, make time to visit The Morgan Library and Museum. Billionaire philanthropist J.P. “Jack” Morgan had a discerning eye for collectibles, and many wonderful rare collections have also been donated to The Morgan over the years. If you get a vicarious thrill out of seeing what catches a billionaire’s eye, then this is the place to indulge yourself.
The Morgan has a superb collection of music art and literary works, from medieval times to modern day. Many native New Yorkers have not yet discovered the treasures this museum has to offer. If you have an appreciation for literature, you’re sure to find your visit to the Morgan riveting. It houses three Gutenberg Bibles, fascinating in their own right due to the intricacy of the print style and rarity quotient. You’ll discover works by Lord Byron, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Thoreau and others. The Morgan is also home to some early classic children’s books, and a collection of such distinguished 20th century American authors as Sylvia Plath, Tennessee Williams, Gertrude Stein and Ted Hughes.
Musically, you’ll be delighted by the unique opportunity to view manuscripts by Mahler, Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, and Shubert, among other iconic composers,.There’s also a large body of material about the lives and works of Gilbert & Sullivan. A couple of letters dashed off by the 13 year old Amadeus Mozart are most interesting. Step forward a few centuries to take a gander at some of Bob Dylan’s original scribblings for his ‘60s anti-war anthem, “Blowin’ In The Wind.”
There are over 12,000 drawings spanning the 14th through 21st century, from many cultures. The Morgan houses nearly 200 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and boasts the largest collection of Rembrandt etchings. Ancient Egyptian art forms, and an extensive near Eastern seals and tablets, date back as far as 3,000 years.
Architecturally, The Morgan Library and Museum is most intriguing. Charles Follen McKim’s original palazzo design was created to house Morgan’s private library. Currently, The Morgan is a unique combination of varying styles and time periods, and takes up half a city block located at 225 Madison Avenue. The library and museum underwent an extensive restoration in 2010.
Conveniently close to popular destinations such as The Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden and Macy’s, The Morgan takes a lot less time than some of the better known museums, and is equally satisfying. www.themorgan.org
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