Monday, January 5, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Our family obsession with all things Egypt is no secret. Over the past few months, we've become totally engulfed by Rick Riordan's "The Kane Chronicles," a series of novels based on Egyptian mythology. The books follow the adventures of siblings Carter and Sadie Kane who are forced to contend with Egyptian gods and goddesses in an effort to rescue their family. At 500 pages plus each, the books probably aren't meant to be read aloud. But we all love the subject and story so much, I haven't mind slogging through the first one a bit (although we did pick up the second one on audiobook!). I mean, an Egyptologist named Dr. Kane?! In any event, several parts of the first book take place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which houses an enormous Egyptian collection. So when we decided to spend Christmas in New York, I knew immediately that was at the top of our to do list.

It was pretty awful weather when we arrived in the city, so we headed straight to the Met. And immediately ran into the holiday crowds. Ugh. And, I always forget, but pretty much every time we go to NYC, the kids throw major 'tudes. I think it has a lot to do with just being exhausted from shlepping about, the inevitable crowds, and general travel off-scheduleness. But it drives me crazy. It took them a little bit to get settled down, but then we spent a good amount of time exploring every nook and cranny of the Egyptian collection. Both kids were underwhelmed by the phenomenal chapel and temple there (for the record, they were unbelievable), but were very, very interested in finding shabti, which are Egyptian funery statutes that were intended to be used as minions in the deceased's afterlife. The first Kane Chronicles featured a funny shabti named "Dough Boy," so the kids were on the hunt for him. They were incredibly thrilled to find an entire room full of shabti!

After a quick lunch, we spent a bit of time poking around the modern collection until the kids clearly needed some fresh air. Seeing they were at their limit, we grabbed a street snack and took a short walk over to Belvedere Castle in Central Park (btw, I love the City Walks with Kids series, especially the New York set. Even if you're familiar with the city, this set of cards does a great job of identifying groups of interesting sites that can be easily walked by kids. I generally don't start with it, but if we pick a place to visit, I find a card including that spot, and then have a backup plan for a good walk around it). The weather was still dreary, so we couldn't spot much atop the castle, but the kids enjoyed the climb!

I'm obviously a huge fan of visiting museums with kids and we all loved The Met! But keep in mind that the museum is enormous (it's the largest art museum in the United States), so visiting just a few exhibits per trip is really the way to go. And plan on plenty of play in adjacent Central Park -- it's the perfect balance. You can find all the info on visiting right here.

No comments: