New York's Beautiful J.P. Morgan Library Gets a Facelift

Submitted by birdie on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 15:17

The classic library has been around since 1906, was opened to the public in 1924 and recently received some refurbishment as reported by Art News.

Some history: At a contentious meeting of bankers during the 1907 financial crisis, J. Pierpont Morgan locked the doors of his private library and study in New York's Murray Hill, refusing to let his fellow financiers leave until they had agreed on a national-rescue plan. In that grand but intimate building, designed by Charles Follen McKim after an Italian Renaissance palazzo, Morgan also convened meetings of the acquisitions committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which he was president. After Morgan's death, the building became the heart of the institution that for more than 80 years has made his collections available to the public. Now the Morgan Library & Museum is restoring and reinstalling the rooms of his domain to better tell the story of its collections and the man behind them.

When the McKim building reopens on October 30, the North Room, originally the librarian's office, will be accessible to the public for the first time. Visitors will also be able to peer inside Morgan's vault. The interiors will be cleaned, the furniture restored, state-of-the-art lighting installed, and hundreds of additional objects placed on view. The refurbishment, which has closed the building since June, has cost $4.5 million.

"Throughout, we wanted to strike the right balance between period room and display space for the collections," says the museum's director, William M. Griswold, who underscores that moving more objects to the McKim building frees up valuable exhibition space in other parts of the museum.