September 19, 2004

Philippe de Montebello
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028-0198

Dear Mr. de Montebello:

It is with a heavy heart and not without some bitterness that I hereby renounce my membership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, effective immediately. I hope that this letter detailing my reasons for this action will help instigate some obviously needed changes in your organization.

Like most relationships, my association with the Met began in happiness before deteriorating into disappointment and rancor. I was thrilled to receive the membership as a birthday gift from my siblings earlier this month. Other than fairly non-exclusive classifications such as homo sapiens or U.S. citizen I had really not been a member of anything since my high school days on the Mathletics team, so to suddenly be a part of something as lofty and prestigious as the Met was truly humbling and I was just hoping to live up to my end of the deal.

As I mentioned, things started off great. The day after my birthday, membership card in hand, I entered your museum, strode up to the counter, and received my admission pin from the smiling cashier. Those were six happy and fulfilling art-viewing hours that day, I can tell you. As it turns out, the very next afternoon I found myself on the Upper East Side with a certain urgent and embarrassing biological need. When I showed the nice woman at the counter my card and told her that I only needed to use the facilities and wouldn't be looking at any of the art, she laughed away my concerns and said that I could use the facilities, look at the art, whatever I wanted. I was a Metropolitan Museum member, part of the Met family.

Well, the events of the last two weeks have proved those to be empty words.Maybe I'm just a naive Jersey guy, not used to your big city museum ways, but where I come from we treat our family members with a little more respect and understanding. If my brother needs a few bucks until payday or a Yuan Dynasty vase to brighten up his apartment, I help the guy out rather than getting all huffy and threatening to have him arrested even after he puts the vase back without even a scratch. So when you receive my membership card in the mail, I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on what I've written and realize just how much harder it is to replace a member of one's family than it is a 13th century Italian stained-glass window (I'm real sorry about that, by the way).

Ken Goldstein

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