The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Medieval Collection), New York

Document created by ssindc on May 11, 2015
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As I was driving through New York on the Henry Hudson Parkway - on the way to Bronxville/Yonkers - my eye caught what I (correctly) assumed had to be The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's facility where it houses/displays much of its Medieval Collection.  I admit I only knew of it because of the (fictional) book Tell the Wolves I'm Home (by Carol Rifka Brunt) - it's a very good book, and the Cloisters play a major role in the protagonist's memory and feature prominently in the story.  In any event, I pulled off the road, paid the admission fee, and was glad I did.

 

Quite simply, the grounds are beautiful, the collection is fascinating, the gardens are enchanting, and the outdoor cafe is comfortable enough that it's a pleasant place to pass the time.

 

You can read much more about the facility's fascinating history here: http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/history-of-the-museum/the-cloisters-museum-and-gardens  But here's a summary (excerpted from the Met web page) about some of its remarkable history:


 

Much of the sculpture at The Cloisters was acquired by George Grey Barnard (1863–1938), a prominent American sculptor, and an avid collector and dealer of medieval art. Barnard opened his original Cloisters on Fort Washington Avenue to the public in 1914. Through the generosity of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960), the Museum acquired Barnard's Cloisters and most of its contents in 1925. Early on, it was clear that a new, larger building would be needed to display the collection in a more scholarly fashion. Rockefeller donated to New York City, and financed the conversion of, some fifty-six acres of land just north of Barnard's museum, which became Fort Tryon Park—approximately four acres of which was destined as the site for the new museum. Following J. Pierpont Morgan's purchase of twelve miles of the New Jersey Palisades in 1901 to preserve the cliffs and shoreline from excessive quarrying, Rockefeller in 1933 donated some seven hundred additional acres of the Palisades' plateau to preserve the view from The Cloisters. In addition to providing the grounds and building to house the Barnard collection, Rockefeller contributed works of art from his own collection—including the celebrated Unicorn Tapestries—and established an endowment for operations and future acquisitions.  [Now THAT'S philanthropy!]


p.s. The Cloisters are accessible from NYC (where there are innumerable Marriott properties), but - if you wanted to stay closer - the Residence Inn in New Rochelle is a safe bet, and, of course, there's another property in Yonkers.

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