Kaigetsudō Doshin (Japanese, active 1711–1736). Woman Writing a Letter, ca. 1715. Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper; Image: 19 1/2 x 23 5/8 in. (49.5 x 60 cm), Overall with mounting: 53 x 28 13/16 in. (134.6 x 73.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Mary Griggs Burke Collection, Gift of the Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, 2015 (2015.300.119)
Hey, #MetKids! I'm Bianca. I am an 18-year-old high school intern at The Met who will be attending School of Visual Arts in the fall. An intern is a student or individual who works at an organization to gain work experience. Have you ever written a letter to The Met? During my internship here, I became very interested in the letters that are mailed to the Museum by kids of all different ages and what happens to them after they arrive.
One day while leaving the office, I overheard two Met staff members reading a letter sent in by a curious kid. Instantly, I was interested! I wanted to know how many letters The Met gets daily, if the letters even get a response, and, if so, who responds to these letters? I wanted to know all I possibly could.
With the help of my mentor, Associate Educator David Bowles, I decided to get to the bottom of this mystery. I came up with a few questions and spoke to Joan Ehrlich, the volunteer who has been responding to letters from kids like you for almost 10 years! She was kind enough to share the details about the mail.
Stacks of letters addressed to The Met. Photo by Aliza Sena
Bianca: How and when did you start responding to kids' letters to The Met?
Joan Ehrlich: I have been working at The Met for almost 10 years. After five years of filling requests for school groups and trips, I eventually moved to responding to children's letters.
Bianca: How long does it take to respond to each letter?
Joan Ehrlich: It varies on what the individual child is asking, really. On average, it takes me 10 to 15 minutes to respond to a child's letter. Sometimes it takes even longer if the kids ask me to do their homework for them—which we don't recommend: your homework will be late!
Bianca: Do you respond to all of them?
Joan Ehrlich: Yes. Sometimes The Met has a lot of letters and other times, not as much. However, I make a point to respond to all the mail I receive.
Bianca: What is the average age and grade that the letters come from?
Joan Ehrlich: The average grade in which letters are received is 5th grade. Most of the letters that I receive are from elementary schoolers. These letters are a part of a letter writing project where they are learning to properly write and address a letter. While The Met doesn't get as many letters from middle schoolers and high schoolers, there certainly are some curious bigger kids who write in.
Bianca: What is your favorite thing about responding to children's letters?
Joan Ehrlich: The children who write in are all so interesting! Letters come from all over the country. I really do get a sense of their school life and what their culture is like, as well as understand what the kids are really about and what motivates, inspires, and captivates them. Some of the children are so interesting and wonderful I almost want to call them in 10 years and see what they're doing and how they've grown. I love to incorporate pictures in the letters to better explain something, and I often suggest they talk to their school librarian to learn more about the topic they wrote about. A letter back from The Met is truly an experience. Since everything is emailed now, it's not very common to get a formal written letter.
Bianca: What is the most unusual letter you can recall responding to?
Joan Ehrlich: Some kids ask how much I and other Met staff get paid. Others ask how good food at The Met is [pretty tasty!] and how good the staff food is. Once a kid asked "if there were a big fire, how would The Met would save all the pictures?" I replied, "There are enough staff at The Met so if everyone grabbed one painting, we'd save a lot!" Most of the letters aren't bizarre as a matter of fact, most of the letters are mellow and calm.
Bianca: Why do you continue to respond to these letters?
Joan Ehrlich: I adore doing it.
Andrew Bush (American, born 1956). Untitled, 1993. Chromogenic prints; Dimensions vary from 8.4 x 7.5 cm (3 5/16 x 2 15/16 in.) to 45.7 x 55.9 cm (18 x 22 in.). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Anonymous Gift, 1993 (1993.195a–s) © Andrew Bush
The Met gives each writer a surprise gift along with their response letter. I found out what it is, and so can you! All you have to do is pick up a pencil and write. We'd love to hear from you! Send your letters in a self-addressed and stamped envelope to:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10028
Tags:child friendly, fun facts, interview, kids, learning, MetKids Questions
Museum Trip Essay
1045 Words5 Pages
When this project was brought to my attention at the beginning of the semester I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know much about the history of art or any of the specific terms that are used in the art world. I have been to museums in the past but that was when I was in elementary school and they didn't teach us any of the specific terms that they used in the art world. On the handout that you gave the class you wrote questions that you though would be helpful for us to answer to succeed on this paper. The museum that I decided to go to was the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. In the following paper I will discuss what the museum looked like, the tour that I went on. What I thought of the tour, the…show more content…
After looking at the fountain I made my way to the information desk to get a map and a list of the tours that were going on that day. I looked over the list and decided to go on the John Singer Sargent tour.
When I arrived at the National Gallery of Art there where a lot of different tours that I could have went on. I decided that I wanted to go on the John Singer Sargent Tour because I had read about him and some of his works while doing my clipping collection. I also wanted to see some of his work because they were pictured in the Baltimore Sun. The paintings that were in the Baltimore Sun that I actually got to see up close was the Madame X and Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. These two paintings in the sun were just black and white photos but in the museum their beauty was unbelievable and also there size was impressive. I had to wait in line for about 40 minutes before the tour started and it lasted about an hour I'd say. The first painting that you see when you are on the tour is the Madame X. Madame X is probably the painting that Sargent is most famous for. In the painting Madame Gautreau stance and provocative dress were thought to be eccentric and astonishing. Madame Gautreau mother wanted Sargent to take out of his show because she thought that the painting was to provocative. The other painting that was in the Baltimore Sun that I saw was Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. This painting was Sargents masterpiece,