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by Helen Rosengren Freedman


If you hadn’t heard that The Morgan Library has re-opened, you’ve probably noticed the crowds lining up to get in.It’s well worth the queue.What a facelift!The light and glass walls are now as illuminating as its magnificent manuscripts.

And they’ve devised a K-12 schools’ programs that is free and should have city schoolchildren happily lining up as well.Colors of the World compares illuminated manuscripts with contemporary Web designs, and then has kids creating their own manuscripts with saffron threads, dried insects and ground spinach leaves. Door to Door aims to teach kids about architectural styles by comparing The Morgan’s old and new. Reading a Building has students exploring Pierpont Morgan’s original library and challenges them to think about what they would collect and how they would create their own dream museum. Writing Matters focuses on the museum’s collection of Mesopotamian clay tablets and cylinder seals, medieval manuscripts on parchment, and the first books printed on paper with moveable type; students will actually be able to handle 3,000-to-5,000-year-old cylinder seals, rolling them onto artificial clay to create a take-home impression. From Cover to Cover will have 6th graders create their own illuminated manuscripts in a seven-session course, five of these in the classroom.Teachers should call (212) 590-0331/2 or email schools@themorgan.org. 

Out of school hours, The Morgan will be better appreciated by middle schoolers on up.If your youngster loves Babar, he can view the original illustrations; if your daughter has started reading Jane Austen, she can view the manuscript of Lady Susan, the only remaining Austen novel written in Jane’s delicate hand.High schoolers can pore over the Bronte sisters’ microscopic handwritten tales; Elizabeth Barrett’s handwritten love poems; and Galileo’s notes on the satellites of Jupiter.

The Morgan Library & Museum is at 225 Madison Avenue, at 36th Street.It’s open Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30am-5pm, with late-night Fridays till 9pm.Saturdays, 10am-6pm; Sundays, 11am-6pm.Admission: $12 adults; $8 students/seniors/under age 16; free for under age 12.Information: (212) 685-0008; www.themorgan.org.



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