Exploring History in a New York Minute

by Sandra Foyt on February 24, 2008

in Family Travel

It’s amazing to me that you can explore thousands of years worth of world history’s art and culture in just one day.

At the Metropolitan Museum in New York City a brief stroll takes you: from the the mummies and tombs of ancient Egypt, to the marble sculptures and terra cotta urns of ancient Greece; from the interior frescoes of ancient Rome, to the shining armor of the Middle Ages; and right into the present in the modern couture collection.

Our tweens carefully inspected the best art from the ages to seek out the boldest, hottest designs. Unlike the Project Runway contestants, these fashion-forward girls were willing to go beyond their comfort zone to seek out inspiration.

The girls were unimpressed by the ancient Egyptian styles.  They passed on the beard and headdress look, and were not interested in 5,000-year-old corn-row wigs or dramatic kohl-lined eyes.  However, they gave a thumbs-up to the massive Temple of Dendur with its lotus-leaf topped columns and centuries-old graffiti.  They might not want to dress like the ancient Egyptians, but they wouldn’t mind a gorgeous temple in their back yards.

history1

history2

The classic beauty and decorative arts of ancient Greece held some appeal, but the girls didn’t think they would want to wear skimpy flowing robes or muscle armor.

history3

history4

history5

They liked the Roman interior design as it included colorful frescoes and plentiful baths.  However, they didn’t want to even consider a beauty regimen that included using one of the bath tools – a metal scraper called a strigil.

history6

By the Middle Ages, knights in shining armor believed in being fully covered in metal.  Even the horses got the same look.  While the girls didn’t want to wear the skimpy looks from ancient Greece, it was obvious that they couldn’t wear the full armor look either.  It’s just too heavy!

How did King Henry VIII pull off this look?  And what kind of manly knight wears a 3-foot-long plumed feather on his helmet?

history8

history7

No, these girls decided that they wouldn’t be wearing any of the ancient fashions, although they could use some of the inspirations to redecorate their homes.  Fortunately, the modern designs in the couture collection had lots of styles to appeal to our fashionistas.

history10

Some of the designs were no more appealing than the ancient looks.  The girls didn’t want to wear the hair covered top hat any more than the Egyptian wigs.  However, my daughter is pleading for a pair of dot covered high-heeled boots to wear to school.  She is also wishing we had more fancy balls in our lives (we have none) so that she can wear this elegant, pleated red number:

history11

Well, who can blame her?  I told her that she can learn to sew and make her own ensembles.  And then she can make any occasion a ball!

Ah, well.  You can take the girls out of the mall and into the art & history museum, but you can’t stop them from window-shopping.  At least, not my daughter.

Previous post:

Next post: