The Lost World: Guarding the Metropolitan Museum

While going through some old files, I found this bit of ephemera from when I worked as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, from 1993 to 1999.  In the employee cafeteria there, which was under the Egyptian Wing at that time, there was a bulletin board where the folks who worked in the building would post various notices:  jobs, old stereo equipment for sale, used cars, wedding and baby-shower announcements, funerals, retirements, flyers for a performance or an art exhibit, and so on.  

Many of the guards who worked at the Met were artists like myself, or musicians, poets, fiction writers, actors and other creative people.  One man that I knew was a Tibetan scholar with the equivalent of a western PhD degree, who had written an important text on aspects of vajrayana meditation. Anyway, one day I found this poem by Randall Jarrell photocopied and pinned up to the employee bulletin board; I thought it summarized something poignant about the situation of working as a security guard at an Art Museum:

The Lost World 2

One day last weekend while visiting the Francis Bacon exhibit, I saw someone I knew still working as a guard there.  She told me about a big layoff that was coming:  100 people, apparently, were about to be let go from their positions there, and in spite of the fact that the guards have a union!  No wonder I noticed that many of the galleries were roped off to the public:  not enough guards to keep them open, and soon there will be even less, if what I heard is actually true.  

Here’s one of the enigromatic notebooks that I carried in my coat when I worked at the Met:

Notebook 187

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