We asked Ethan, a VIP Met Tour Guide at Museum Hack, what one of his favorite works in the collection was.
This is an Astrolabe. It is my favorite piece in the Met, and further proof that I am a total nerd. It is basically the 17th Century Islamic equivalent of an iPhone. Among other things, it can tell you the time, where you are, can be calibrated to different “time zones,” helps you find Mecca and shows you when to pray 5 times a day. The guy who invented it wrote a major book on how to make these things, and it describes this particular astrolabe. And it’s shiny.
I love taking people to the Islamic Art collection because it’s one of those “out of the way” parts of the Met that most people skip, but has some gorgeous (and funky) pieces of art. Among other things, there is an entire Islamic Ceiling that sparkles like stars, a prayer niche with intense blues that rival Vermeer’s ultramarine, and a totally blinged-out hibachi.
Museum Hack evening tours are magical- they are truly my favorite part of the week. Besides getting to show people some amazing (and strange) art, I love watching the museum empty out around us until we realize that we are the last ones left. Since it’s a truly grown-up affair, I also get to pull out some of my sexier gossip, and show off the more scandalous pieces of art in the Met’s collection. And, as the sun sets, the museum itself takes on a whole new life. If you haven’t experienced the Met at night, you haven’t really seen it yet.“
Read an interview with Ethan, VIP Tour Guide at Museum Hack.