Reinstallation in Mr. Morgan's Study


October 14, 2010

Before the restored furniture arrived, many cosmetic touches—such as the makeover of the bank-like manuscript vault—were carried out in Pierpont Morgan's study. The velvet curtain shielding the vault was removed, the vault interior repainted, the original runner conserved and restored, and a new display was installed on the vault shelves. Visitors—now able to see fully inside the vault for the first time—will have a greater sense of the importance of this secret room.

Morgan needed a secure place to store high-value manuscripts, books, and objects brought to him by dealers for consideration, and to house his most valued acquisitions, particularly medieval manuscripts. McKim designed this vault accordingly, lining it with steel and securing it with a bank vault door and combination lock. Manuscripts were kept there from Morgan's day until the building closed in 2003 for the museum's expansion project. Upon reopening in 2006, the precious volumes formerly stored in the West Room Chamber were relocated to a state-of-the-art subterranean vault designed by Renzo Piano. Now the vault in Morgan's study will contain some of the original boxes that housed his manuscripts, along with several small bronze objects he purchased, and the massive tomes he published about his many collections.

Furniture from Mr. Morgan's study received a much-needed overhaul and was expertly reupholstered with fabric and trim that captures the effect of the original coverings and is consistent with Morgan's taste. His desk chair, two side chairs, and a settee were returned to the study, along with other furnishings, after the paintings were rehung.

The vault which is located in Mr. Morgan's Study. Equipped with a bank vault door and combination lock, Morgan used the vault as a secure place to store high value manuscripts, books, and objects. The curtain that hangs in this photo will be removed, and the empty shelves will be filled with original storage boxes as well as books and small works of art.

Alex Confer, Senior Collections Technician from the Registrar Department, reshelves books in the vault.

A close-up of the colorful and gilt bindings that the visitor will be able to see in the vault.

A snapshot of the restored vault, which now contains some of the original boxes that housed Morgan's manuscripts, along with several small bronze objects he purchased, and the massive tomes in which he published his many collections.

A look back at the chair in Mr. Morgan's Study that was badly in need of reupholstering.

The furnishings, which have been expertly reupholstered to evoke the atmosphere of the original study, arrive back in their original place in the study.

Staff from the Registrar Department unveil the renewed lush, velvet-covered furniture.

A beautiful, reupholstered chair is placed gently back into place in the study. While many of the objects in the McKim building date from the Renaissance, the beautifully carved furniture dates from the first decade of the twentieth century.