From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was a defining book of my childhood. In it, the otherwise well-behaved main character Claudia Kincaid rebels against the dull monotony of her life and escapes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, enlisting her middle brother Jamie in the process. A thoroughly grand adventure follows, and the two wind up living undetected in the museum for a full week. Can you even imagine?
After reading the book, I was left with THE most obvious fantasies - I mean, who wouldn't want to have an iconic institution like The Met entirely to themselves? The closest I've ever come was courtesy Museum Hack, an unconventional org that leads "renegade tours" of the Met, as well as The Museum of Natural History. Museum Hack tour guides lead intimate groups and really do specialize in storytelling - they share unexpected and unconventional context around often lesser known pieces within the museum's collection. While it's not necessarily "serious" enough for those who take art... well, very seriously, it's a uniquely New York experience and beyond fun for groups.
Day hacks are available, but we chose a night tour deliberately - it closes with a drink at The Petrie Court at closing time, which means that the museum is officially closed - quiet and empty - as you exit. While I have many great memories from the night, coming upon the sculpture courts with no other museum guests present was truly a magical moment.
Learn more and book tickets (they start at $39/pp) online at Museum Hack.