The Morgan Library & Museum was established in New York City by J.P. Morgan, a prominent businessman, and philanthropist. This complex includes an extensive permanent collection of rare books, drawings, and printed materials dating back to ancient times. Most of the items on display are derived from Morgan’s private collection that was acquired through auctions and other exclusive transactions.
Upon entering the JPMorgan Chase Lobby, you should head to the Morgan Stanley Galleries and Marble Hall, which has rare drawings and manuscripts. Furnished with sumptuous furniture and elegant decor, Mr. Morgan’s Study offers a glimpse into the lives of the rich and wealthy during the Gilded Age.
Some of the most prized possessions at the museum are displayed in Mr. Morgan’s Library, which has several tiers of shelves that are surrounded by stunning frescoes on walls and ceilings. Original copies of the Gutenberg Bible are included in this well-kept library.
The main focal point of the Morgan Library & Museum is Gilbert Court, which has an open layout that provides easy access to all galleries. Serving light fare and drinks, the Morgan Cafe is integrated into the corner of this modern space. The second floor includes the Engelhard Gallery, which displays rare books.
Hailing from the New England region, John Pierpont Morgan was one of the wealthiest American financiers during the Gilded Age. This prominent banker was also an avid collector of art, literature, and other artifacts. Frequent trips to Europe inspired him to acquire a private collection of some of the world’s most exclusive items. J.P. Morgan was particularly interested in printed materials from Medieval Europe. He even hired a personal librarian to organize and manage his growing collection of manuscripts, books, bindings, and other similar publications.
In the early 1900s, Morgan hired some of New York City’s finest architects to design an elegant library. McKim, Mead, and White had the honor of constructing the building for this wealthy and powerful tycoon. Classic Revival was the main architectural style that defined the facade and interior design of the main library building. This stunning property was erected next to Morgan’s personal residence, which was a traditional brownstone. Morgan passed away in 1913, and his son took over control of the hefty estate. In 1924, the Morgan Library opened to the public, just as stipulated in the will of the founder.
In 2006, Renzo Piano was hired to expand the Morgan Library & Museum. This prominent Italian architect designed a contemporary annex that’s in harmony with the original buildings. Approximately 75,000 square feet of space were added to the well-established library complex. The expansion also introduced the Engelhard Gallery and other spaces for temporary and permanent exhibits.
Visiting The Morgan Library & Museum
Overlooking the ritzy Madison Avenue, the Morgan Library & Museum is situated in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Whether you’re taking a bus or subway, getting to this cultural attraction shouldn’t be a problem.
Located just a few blocks away from the museum, the 34th Street-Herald Square station is served by several subway lines that run through most of Manhattan. The iconic Grand Central Terminal is also located within several blocks of the Morgan Library & Museum. This massive transit hub is served by more than a dozen commuter rail lines and multiple subway routes.
If you’re visiting by car, look for parking garages just off Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Fifth Avenue. The Morgan Library & Museum is surrounded by towering skyscrapers, so you could use some iconic landmarks for reference. For example, the famous Empire State Building literally casts a shadow on the museum and the surroundings.
Location: 225 Madison Avenue (at East 36th Street in the Murray Hill neighborhood), New York, NY, 10016
Click here to visit The Morgan Library & Museum official website.