A Look at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976—The Hidden World | From the Vaults


(upbeat percussion music) – [Ray Cusie] I’ve been with
the museum over 18 years. And I started out in
security, went up to design, and worked in several other departments. Now I work public education, working on audio-visual equipment. Making video tapes of our
installations and galleries. (upbeat percussion music) Visitors are, it’s hard
to talk about visitors. Because you’re doing
things for the visitors, but you’re not really
mingling with the visitors. Everything you do, is to prepare the works for the visitors to see. (crowd chatter) (upbeat percussion music) Well, a lot of people come up here, and they look at the
impressionist paintings, and they don’t know
what they’re looking at. Because it takes a lot of looking to know. But they’re groping for something. They want to see what it’s all about. And they really look intensely, but they can’t find it,
because you don’t find it on a visit or two. You have to search around. And you hear a lot of people say, and they always, a few
people laugh at the comment: “Well, I know what I like.” Which isn’t a funny
comment, because they’re absolutely right. And people do know what they like. (upbeat percussion music) The museum, it doesn’t
seem like it has an end. It just continues. If you would start let’s
say at the south wing, and walk directly to the north wing, in a straight line, would
be a four block walk. Four city block walk. It would be interesting to know, just how many doors are in the museum. How many steps would the museum have? If you would put all the
museum steps together, how high can you go? I think you could look down
on the Empire State Building, for sure. There must be over 800 people
working in this museum. You have elevator mechanics. You have carpenters. You have painters, steamfitters, plumbers, restorers, designers, roofers, tinsmiths, everything is in the building. And these are a lot of
people that you never see. (upbeat percussion music) Many times I work with fellas
in the conservation department or department of assistance
from various departments in the building, who
are setting up displays, or removing works of art. Everybody had a job to do. You have one person
making the display case. You have the department assistant handling the art. You have conservation making clips, and whatever it takes
to hold down the art, so it doesn’t get knocked
over while it’s on display. Then you have the cleaners
come to clean the glass, and the area around it. And then sometimes the gardener comes, and if it’s needed,
he’ll put a plant nearby to enhance the art. And then finally, security
department sends a man over to watch it. (upbeat percussion music). Most of the time from 12 to 1, it depends on what type
of schedule I’m following for that day, and what type
of programs are going on, I’ll occupy my time, and
relieve a lot of my tensions, with an hours worth of exercise. So, this relaxes me, and it
also benefits me physically. (upbeat percussion music) (Music) I was into fencing for a while. And naturally the Arms
and Armor department, I would say, spontaneously,
well this is my favorite place. The new sections in the museum
that’s being added onto, we just got the Lehman Collection open, and now we’re going to show them, we have to put them in a bar. This is additional education
that I see in the future for myself. It also might mean, who
knows, I might even take up a new sport. When I’m outside the museum,
I’m a different person. When I’m in the museum,
I’m very much more relaxed. I sort of know what the
situations are there. (upbeat percussion music) ♪ Hey, oh oh oh oh oh
oh yeah, oh yeah, oh ♪ ♪ Hey, oh oh yeah, oh yeah, oma oma bo ♪ ♪ Hey yeah, hey ba ♪ ♪ Hey yeah, hey ba ♪ ♪ Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh,
oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh ♪ ♪ Ah ah nah da da ah da, yeah a day ♪ ♪ Nah day nay ♪ ♪ Ay ay ay ay ay ay oh ♪ ♪ Oh am a sah ma quay, oh ma
sam a quey oh ma sam a quey ♪ ♪ Oh yeah oh yeah ♪

9 thoughts on “A Look at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976—The Hidden World | From the Vaults

  1. AND MY THINKING WAS EQUALLY AS SELFISH – GET A JOB AS SECURITY GAURD ON NIGHTS ETC AND ENJOY THE ART…. AND TAKE IT FROM THERE… GOOD IDEA MR R.C

  2. Wonderful documentary piece. I especially love how the eyes of the various artworks "watch" Ray as he comes in in the morning and leaves for the day. And what a great snapshot of 1976.

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