The Met is marking its 150th Anniversary.
Throughout 2020, as part of their sesquicentennial, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has launched a major film-archive initiative—From the Vaults. Each Friday this year, the museum will release and publish one new film from their collection on their website.
The Met’s archive comprises more than 1,500 films from the 1920s onward. They were both made and collected by the Museum. Included are rarely seen artist profiles, documentaries, and animations, as well as process films about specific art-making techniques and behind-the-scenes, back-of-the-house footage of the Museum.
This 25-minuted film—one of my favorites—shot in 1928, is an enlightening showcase of the many internal businesses necessary to help keep a museum functioning at the time. A couple of the many operations you’ll visit are the metal and glass shop where showcases are constructed; the tradespeople conserving textiles, stone, and paintings; the photo studio where every object is photographed and cataloged.
The Met provides additional context on the approach of their film, “Employees punch time clocks; janitors dust the galleries; curators puzzle over fragments of ancient statuary. The film, Behind the Scenes: The Working Side of the Museum,1928, begins and ends with footage of workers entering and leaving the Museum, a moving homage to the first film ever made, Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895).”
The Met says that included in their film series are rarely seen artist profiles, documentaries, and animations, as well as process films about specific art-making techniques and behind-the-scenes footage of the Museum.
#FromTheVaults and #FilmFriday are associated with The Met’s 150th anniversary.