When I first became a Visitor Services volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art I was taken on a tour of the museum. It was the beginning of my training to learn about the museum so I could help visitors find their way around. The day was mostly a blur, but the one place I never forgot, and return to over and over again, is the Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art. Commonly known as the Visual Storage area, these rows upon rows of objects represent American fine art and decorative art objects that are not currently on view in the Museum galleries and period rooms.
Objects are arranged by material (oil paintings, sculpture, furniture and woodwork, glass, ceramics, and metalwork) and within these categories are organized by form and chronology. Not only are the individual objects beautiful to look at but the spectacle of the volume of objects is beautiful too.
The Luce Center is located on the mezzanine level of the American Wing. Very few people find their way there so it’s very quiet and I find it very peaceful. There are computer displays at the end of each row so you can look up any of the objects you see. This is necessary because the objects don’t have the usual information cards next to them.
Next time you are at the Met, be sure to investigate the The Luce Center.