Since moving to New York, I have made four visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in those four visits, I have covered, maybe, half of the museum. And since all of those visits have been with a four year old, it is likely a high estimate to say I have seen half of the pieces in those half of the rooms.
To describe the Met as huge is an understatement.
With each visit, I try to make a stop at my favorite part of the museum, the Temple of Dendur. Housed in a recreated Nubian environment, with a representation of the Nile and papyrus shooting up from the water, the Temple of Dendur is a breathtaking insight into 15th century Egypt. But this is not the reason for my fascination. I love reading through the 19th century graffiti scratched into the temple walls by tourists and military, whose histories are now preserved among the carvings of lotus plants and Caesar Augustus.
But despite my love of the Met, I can't help but become overwhelmed with anxiety when visiting its 2 million square feet of 2 million plus pieces since the vastness of the museum does nothing ease its suffocating amount of rules.
Because you can wear your backpack hanging off one shoulder, but not on your back. Sure, you can take a photo of this but not of that. Pencils are allowed for sketching, but not ink pens. Okay, understandably so, we don't want any freak pen explosions, but you don't have to give me the stink eye for reapplying my lip gloss in the Armor exhibit. And God forbid, don't bring any hummus into the museum.
Don't get me wrong, I recognize housing 14th century Ottoman ceramics requires astronomical insurance, but is it necessary to correct my behavior at every turn of a corner?
Because really, Met Museum guards, you don't have to worry that I'm going to go ape-poo flinging in the museum with my hummus. And no matter how tempting it may be for me, no one is going to visit the Temple of Dendur and know "Melissa was here, 2012"
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