Museum Junkie: Met reopens its American wing

The American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York reopened yesterday after two years of construction and renovation. The museum’s excellent collection of American painting, sculpture, and minor arts has taken on new life with a major remodel that includes a reconfigured main courtyard containing thirty pieces of important sculpture. A video of the stunning, light-filled courtyard can be seen here.

The new interior uses generous amounts of glass as well as an airy, open interior to create a beautiful space within which to admire American art. People have often bypassed this section to make a beeline to the more famous medieval and Egyptian galleries, but the American wing has an amazing collection of works that can hold their own with any period of art.

In this museum junkie’s opinion, the most interesting part of this wing has always been the period rooms, two of which are pictured in the gallery below. These are twenty original interiors from all periods of American history, ranging from 1680 to 1914, that really bring you into the feel of the time. New digital interpretation panels help you see beyond the pretty furniture and architecture to understand how these places were actually lived in. It’s all part of the museum’s commitment to make a more visitor-friendly experience and bring American art more into the public’s attention.


Vietnamese Water Puppet Show

If you’re ever in Hanoi don’t miss the Water Puppet Theater-even if you think you are not a puppet kind of person. This show is not just geared for kids, but meant to delight adults as well. Water puppetry started in farming communities when rice paddies were used as the stage. These days, puppeteers stand in water, chest deep, behind a curtain. The puppets are fastened onto poles and boards and are manipulated using the water as part of the scenery. Here’s a video sampling of what you will see. Sometimes the puppet troupe goes on tour. If it comes through your town, don’t miss it. Thanks, English Tim for the You Tube post.