With one or two exceptions, I enjoyed every interview in Museum and found that they each added something interesting to the overall picture. Not all the people featured are necessarily sympathetic characters, but I think there has to be a certain amount of ego in a place like the Met. That said, there were chapters which stuck with me beyond the reading. I loved John Barelli, the Bronx-born chief security officer who says, "In the security business there are few places that are more important than this to secure," and Herbert M. Moskowitz, the chief registrar who mixes a wonderful sense of awe with the expertise required to bring in artifacts from around the world. In contrast, there are also people like George Cuesta, a maintainer in the plumbing shop who talks more about his church than he does about the museum. As passionate and dedicated to the institution as many people are in the book, it's refreshing to see that others simply work there. Like the world at large, it takes all sorts to keep the place going, and there's nothing wrong with that.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a wonderful place. Its cultural significance and the importance of the materials it safeguards is unparalleled in the Western Hemisphere. But it's also a building which must be fixed and secured, cleaned and opened for business. Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art brings that all into lively clarity, letting the reader stand amidst this crossroads of humanity and history for a private tour.