The Morgan Library

In keeping with my other New York-themed posts, I wanted to share a different type of museum for the May Art in Focus.

As you might know from my instagram posts, the main reason we went to New York City was to see the Tolkien exhibit at the Morgan Library — a showcase of J.R.R. Tolkien's personal illustrations, annotated maps, and notes that enabled him to create the magical world of Middle Earth.

Similar to the Gardner museum, the Morgan Library has a lovely new exhibition space created by renown architect Renzo Piano.

Like all of Piano's projects, the center entrance of the Library is light, airy, and mostly glass — while the original mansion and library bring you back to Gilded Age New York.

The mansion and library were created by John Pierpont Morgan, the man responsible for creating the JP Morgan company we know today.

Historical house museums are an interesting contrast to the 'regular' museums we more typically visit or think of when someone says 'museum.'

Ceiling frescos

I am often fascinated with how family members, friends, or local historical societies know when to preserve these places — we are incredibly lucky with the number of preserved house museums we have in the US.

Portrait of J.P. Morgan in his private study

J. Pierpont Morgan amassed his wealth mostly due to success in the railroad business(and tangential industries like steel) that his father enjoyed in the second half of the 19th century.

After his father's death, the money (and company) went to J. Pierpont Morgan, who began collecting art and set sights on creating a private library connected to his mansion in New York.

The Library

The famous McKim, White, and Mead architecture firm constructed a palazzo to house Pierpont's precious collections that he began investing in.

Pierpont's ultimate goal was to share his collection with the public, and several years after his death, his son made the library open to the public.

Items in the vault

While obvious staircases transport you to the second and third stories of the library, there are also a few hidden staircases behind false book cases.

It is truly breathtaking — a place you'd want to spend any rainy afternoon reading away.

2 thoughts on “The Morgan Library”

  1. I feel like I visited this museum with your Mom several years ago. The interior looks very familiar!

    1. A visit to the Morgan Library is a great thing to do whether it’s rainy or sunny. It’s a step into so many periods of history, and it’s an incredibly satisfying experience whether you love history, arts, libraries, business or banks!

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