Metropolitan Stories


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Reception: 6:30pm

Program: 7:00pm

Members: $ 10

Guests: $ 20


Enjoy an evening of art and stories as related by Christine Coulson (MA, Williams ‘93), who began her career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1991 as an intern in the European Paintings Department. In the 25 years since then, Coulson has risen through the ranks of The Met and has held several positions, including roles in the Development Office, the Director’s Office and the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. In April 2019, she left the Met to write full-time.

Coulson’s new novel, Metropolitan Stories, introduces us to the side of the Museum that the public doesn’t see.  Hidden behind the Picassos and Vermeers, the Temple of Dendur and the American Wing, exists another world: the hallways and offices, conservation studios and storerooms that are home to the Museum’s devoted and peculiar staff of 2,200 people—along with a few ghosts.  A surreal love letter to this private side of The Met, Coulson’s book unfolds in a series of amusing and poignant vignettes in which we discover larger-than-life characters, the downside of survival, and the powerful voices of the art itself. 

How does it feel to devote your life to caring for masterpieces?  To walk through the Museum alone at dawn or late at night?  How do the works of art change when you see them every day? 

Coulson describes the intimacy that develops between the Met staff and the Museum’s collection.  She imagines how an 18th-century chair might tell its own story, traveling from palace to storage to period room.  Or how a Renaissance marble sculpture felt when it broke into a thousand pieces one night.  How do these works of art connect us to both the past and our future?  Join us for a lively conversation about art, museums, memory, and heroes of all kinds.  

Liz McGowan (BA Princeton ’79; MA ‘81 & PhD, ’83, NYU) Chair of Williams College’s Art History Department, will serve as an interlocutor.

Christine Coulson (BA, U Mass ’91, MA, Williams ‘93) is Chief Advisor to the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

                                         The Williams Club and the Princeton Club of New York proudly co-host this event