Find this in a library at
Hidden Treasures: Stories from a Great Museum

Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Alexandra M. Isles
Directed by Alexandra M. Isles
DVD, color, 55 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Art, Art History, Museums

Reviewed by Rue McKenzie, University of South Florida, Tampa

Date Entered: 5/20/2011

In Hidden Treasures: Stories from a Great Museum, staff members of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art share personal stories relating to their relationship with selected holdings of the museum. Curators, art technicians, security guards, and museum educators focus on specific works that include painting, sculpture, musical instruments, weapons, reliquaries, and illuminated manuscripts as they discuss the impact of art on their lives and others. The viewer has the opportunity to have a unique perspective for the works examined. Along with the more traditional art, there is also a segment on one of the Cloisters gardens, and the medicinal and magical plants thriving there. The word “magical” is often central to the stories told. The impact of working in such close proximity to so many incredible works is never downplayed.

The program is executed well on all levels, although at times it seems a bit uneven regarding the pace and “comfort level” of the interviewees. However, it is important to remember that these individuals are talking to us as though in personal conversation, and as a result provide both an objective introductory analysis of a variety of works while allowing their subjective perspective to bring additional life to the works. And the stories most certainly will elicit a certain amount of envy for the roles they play in the Museum.

The program is not a collection of lessons in art, but a truly unique approach to art appreciation. Hidden Treasures: Stories from a Great Museum is appropriate for a wide range of viewers both for personal and educational support. The program could provide a discussion trigger for classes in art and education, and also provide the opportunity for individual viewers to rethink their own appreciation of creative works.