The Metropolitan Museum of Art (often shortened to “the Met”), considered by many to be a New York City staple, shuttered the doors to its grand Upper East Side museum on March 13, as did all other museums and art exhibits in the city when lockdown began. The Met has continued to provide the art community with daily posts on Instagram during quarantine. Featuring write-ups about new exhibits to visit, interviews with museum workers and art from Instagram users using the hashtag “#MetSketch,” the museum made an effort to keep guests engaged with the museum until the institution could reopen. After around five months, the Met resumed admission to the public on Aug. 29 with new rules and safety regulations in place.
The first step to preparing a visit to the museum is reserving a time slot on the museum’s website. This functions as a regulator of how many guests will be in the museum at a given time. Reserving a time is free, and confirmation will be sent through email. Upon arrival, guests wait in line outside to get their temperature checked and then proceed up the steps to the bag check area with security. No large bags are allowed in and, due to the virus and new sanitation guidelines, coat check is currently closed. After entering the museum, guests are separated into two groups: guests with a timed reservation and guests with a ticket. Those who purchased tickets in advance enter the exhibits, those with reservations wait in line to buy a ticket. Previously, there were no-contact kiosks for ticket purchases; now tickets are bought with an employee in order to verify that guests made a reservation. The price of tickets has remained $25 for adults and the “pay what you want” allowance is still being observed for tri-state area residents and students.
As for inside the exhibits, there are many new safety precautions and rules. Masks are required at all times. There is a one-way traffic direction around most rooms as well as enforced social distancing. A few of the exhibits also quickly fill to maximum capacity, so there are a few lines that visitors may have to wait on once inside. Stairways are strategically closed off so that one side of the building has guests going up and one side has guests going down to prevent face to face interaction. Elevators are available for those who may need and are supervised by an employee. As for the rooftop, food and drinks are no longer available for purchase but it is still open to visitors for the view.
Despite the pandemic, the Met’s cultural significance in the city still remains, and there is a new exhibition now open to the public called “Making The Met 1870-2020,” that showcases this significance. The exhibit consists of one hallway and then openings on each side to separate rooms with dates on the doorways grouping together certain artworks. It starts with 1870, and proceeds to the present day. Included is an optional guided listening via Soundcloud that can be accessed with a QR code for information on the exhibit. It is a combination of stories, beginning with a group of people’s idea of a museum in New York City leading to the creation of the Met — one of the most respected art institutions in the world. The artwork on view is a collection of the most beloved works the museum possesses, a reflection of the role that art plays in our lives.
To make a reservation or buy tickets in advance, visit the Metmuseum.org/visit