In honor of the Museum’s 150th anniversary, I share #MyMetStory.

For nearly two years as a Met Museum intern and NYU Museum Studies student, I visited The Met daily. I aimed to explore every nook and cranny of the museum, and I had the luxury of time at that point in my life to focus in on one exhibition or gallery at a time, to really soak up my surroundings. Having moved away from everything and everyone familiar to me, I found peace, comfort, and companionship in the works at the museum, envisioning their creators, the culture and context they emerged from, and what they might be trying to express, or, sometimes, purely allowing myself to be moved by their beauty or strangeness. I moved freely in my exploration from ancient Egyptian art to Modern European art to Oceanic art, the arts of India, to the new American wing, and so much more.

I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for in examining every gallery I could find within the museum. But I did discover something. We, as humans, are all connected. We are connected across time, across geography, and without boundaries, all thanks to art. A commonality I found across the 5,000 years of art created by numerous peoples from all over the world housed within the museum was the expression of the human condition. At the core of all art, there is a passion for life and evidence of the inventive nature of humans. We, as humans, all examine our realities. And we all pursue invention in one way or another. For thousands of years, we have used art to illustrate what we value and to create and communicate. And, even when a tangible takeaway eludes us, there’s an interaction taking place between us and a fellow human, somewhere in time and space, when we view a work of art. And that is incredible!

On my last day as a resident of New York City, as I parked a packed rental car nearby and prepared for a long drive back to Texas, I visited The Met. And, guess what?! I stumbled into an entire gallery I had never visited.

Thank you, Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instilling in me that there is always more to discover, and that so much of it is beautiful.

Today, I still tell my family and friends that if I could live inside The Met, I would.

Stacey Ingram Kaleh at The Met in 2009 and 2017.

Expert in museum studies and nonprofit communications. Millennial mom passionate about fostering a culture of kindness. Lover of live music and Texas wine.

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