To visit the Morgan is to encounter a remarkable range of works that attest to the highest achievement of human creativity—from drawing and literature to music, photography, rare books, and the arts of the ancient and medieval worlds. The collections, some of the greatest of their kind, include superb examples by such masters as Gutenberg, Michelangelo, Mozart, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Pablo Picasso, Irving Penn, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Simply put, there is no other museum like the Morgan in New York.
The institution’s beginnings are rooted in the extraordinary acquisitions of art and literature by financier Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913), one of America’s pre-eminent cultural benefactors. His tastes were encyclopedic, and by the early 1900s his holdings were of such magnitude that he commissioned the architect Charles McKim to design a private library to house them. The 1906 neo-classical McKim building, a National Historic Landmark, remains the heart and soul of the Morgan today. In 1928, Pierpont’s son, J.P. Morgan, Jr. (1867–1943), built an annex to the McKim with a public gallery devoted to exhibiting highlights from the collections. Over the years, the museum has added the beautiful Morgan brownstone residence to its campus, and in 2006 unveiled an acclaimed expansion by architect Renzo Piano.
In addition to serving as a venue for the exhibition of art, literature, and music, the Morgan is an important international research center. The state-of-the-art Reading Room offers direct access to rare source material from the museum’s collections, and the rapidly growing digital archive is used by students and scholars the world over. The Morgan’s Drawing Institute annually hosts visiting fellows and organizes symposia on new scholarship in the drawings field.
A visit to the museum would not be complete without a stop at the Café in Gilbert Court, or the museum shop. The institution also comes alive in the evenings with weekly concerts, films, lectures, and other public programs in the elegant Gilder Lehrman Hall.
The New York Times has called the Morgan "extra special, in a class of its own," and we think you will agree. I encourage you to plan a visit. You can find out about all the Morgan has to offer on this website, or log onto Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to get additional, behind-the-scenes information.
Colin B. Bailey