The heart of New York City houses the historic Morgan Library and Museum. This complex set of buildings were designed to “to stimulate enjoyment, excite the imagination, advance learning, and nurture creativity.” The recently annexed Morgan now integrates three separate buildings into its campus. The McKim building houses the original 1906 private Pierpont Morgan library connected to his study. The Clare Eddie Thaw and Morgan Stanley Galleries regularly hold exhibitions of artistic, literary, or historical items, all lit by carefully-filtered natural light. Gilder Lehrman Hall is a theater on the lower level for concerts, dramatic readings, lectures, and other live performances. There is a cafe and souvenir shop conveniently located within the campus.
History of Morgan Library and Museum
J.P. Morgan Jr. transformed his father Pierpont Morgan’s private collection of historical manuscripts, early printed books, old master drawings, and other rare materials into a public institution in 1924. The Morgan is considered one of the greatest cultural gifts in U.S. history. In 2006 the complex was renovated by a renowned Italian architect and in 2010, the library was refurbished. The pristine Morgan Library and Museum possesses a collection of important pieces of Western Culture, dating back as far as 4,000 B.C. and persisting to the current century. To complement the Morgan’s exhibitions, the institution runs musical performances, lectures, readings, films, family programs, and tours. There are also abundant resources and specialized services for those seeking to research the holdings of the Morgan.
Pierpont’s 1906 library is always open to the public. Running through Jan. 7 is Drawn to Greatness which displays, the Thaw Collection, a large private collection of drawings from pivotal Renaissance artists. Oil sketches and paintings from the Thaw Collection depicting Rome and Naples will remain until late March. Charles Dickens and the Spirit of Christmas is on display until Jan. 14, and consists of all five manuscripts of Dickens’s Christmas books to explore the origination, release, and reception of A Christmas Carol. Treasures from the Vault, closing March 11, presents some of the Morgan’s greatest pieces of manuscripts, letters, and original works of music. Letters from Jane Austen to her niece, George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Address, and Franz Shubert’s original composition of Der Wonderland will be on display to the public.
Starting Jan. 19 Power and Grace, a collection of Flemish Baroque paper drawings will go on display. Over one hundred photographs by avant-garde artist Peter Hujar will be exhibited starting Jan. 26. The series, titled Speed of Life, chronicles Hujar’s life as a gay artist in downtown New York City between the Stonewall Uprising in the late 1960s through the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Premiering on the same date, Now and Forever will explore how inhabitants of the Middle Ages told time through the examination of Medieval calendars, ancient religious feasts, and a variety of manuscripts.
Explore a variety of exhibitions available in a virtual format in the Morgan Library & Museum’s website. Virtual tours, audio guides, drawings, manuscripts, and personal reflections by artists are available through online exhibitions. Thoreau’s journal, the drawings of Al Taylor, and Hogarth’s drawings can be browsed through the museum’s website.
“At the recently expanded Morgan Library, visitors encounter architectural treasures and a peerless collection of manuscripts and art.“
—Francis Morrone, Humanities
Getting to the Morgan Library and Museum
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