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Blogging at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

July 29, 2009

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has its own blog with entries written by the curators! I stumbled upon it while doing some background research before my upcoming visit and it is really informative and interesting. Unfortunately, it only exists for the museum’s current exhibit of medieval drawings and there isn’t one for the Francis Bacon exhibit or Afghani artefacts on loan from the Kabul national  museum.

The blog includes posts composed by a variety of contributors; Melanie Holcomb, the associate curator of the exhibit is the main contributor while Nancy Wu, an educator at the Cloisters, Elizabeth Williams, exhibition assistant and even the exhibition intern, Eric Hupe have contributed small articles. Each writer highlights something that has caught their eye in the exhibition and elaborates on how they came to understand the object more after spending time with it and viewing it in relation to the other drawings. For instance, Melanie Holcomb writes about medieval diagrams and their complex geometry and Nancy Wu writes about the architectural drawings (one of which is one of the oldest architectural drawings in the world) and how it combines fanciful imaginative flourishes with real architectural elements.

It’s nice to have a more informal way to become familiar with an exhibit before you go and see it and I think the museum has done a great job with the blog. It’s almost like a mini-tour of the exhibit with a very educated and informed guide, and since you can comment on the articles and interact with the authors that way it creates a platform for dialogue. If you can’t see the exhibit ,the blog is perhaps even more helpful since the quality of the images is very high and you can look at them for as long as you want without being jostled by the crowd! The digitizing of the images and all this museum outreach over the internet remindes me of  an article on the blog that describes how monks are using digital technology to preserve ancient manuscripts… much in the same way that monks used to slave over copies of the Bible before the printing press was invented. It’s always good to make art available to as wide an audience as possible and I hope that the Met continues!

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