You should definitely read it before you go on the tour!Several participants…who didn’t
Several clients were asked what they would say to you, before you join a tour, and that was it.
Please, take the time and run through the page below, it can literally save you 20-30 minutes, clear up a lot of confusion, and make your museum experience run smoother.
- Coat Check and Entry “Hack”
- Strollers and Wheelchairs
- Payment, Admission
- Cancellation Policy
- Collapsible Stools and Wheelchairs
- Restrooms and Refreshments
- Camera and cellphone usage
- Cohanim at the Met
- What Tours do you Give at the Met?
- Other Museums
Welcome to the FAQ page. This may be a bit of a read, but if even one piece of information was helpful to you, it’s worth it! This can save you a lot of time, clear up confusion, and help you prepare for the optimal museum experience.Most importantly – if you are joining a group with other people, please be considerate and plan your arrival, parking, etc., to make sure you can be on time.Please text the guide in advance if you are going to be late. The guide cannot always check his/her phone while managing arriving customers, or during the tour, nor check email within 2 hours of the schedules tour.If a client does not show up within 15 minutes of the set start time, and does not inform the guide he/she is running late, the tour will have to start regardless. However, you may arrange to have your tickets waiting for you at the group desk (no waiting in line!).To pick up your tickets and join us – see “Payments and Admission”.
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For your convenience, here is a link to an interactive map of the Met. You can choose which floor you are viewing on the side panel, and by clicking on each gallery, you will get basic information about it.Groups will meet in the Great Hall, right up the stairs from 5th Avenue, AKA 85th Street Entrance:
Coat Check and Entry “Hack”
Especially in the winter, checking in your coat and belongings may take up to 15 minutes, and we would not want to spend our time in the museum waiting in line.Hack the line:On most days (unless it’s the last day of some major exhibition), enter on the street level, on the 81st street entrance. There is usually little or no line there, and even at 10:00 AM it is a faster line than the regular entrance. Once you have checked your coat, ask at either of the desks inside for a “gallery pass” so you can meet your group at the main hall.Otherwise, just walk back out and in from the main entrance, up the stairs.
Ask for directions to the Great Hall. It’s a 5 minute walk if you are going very slowly.
Strollers and Wheelchairs
Strollers should enter form the 81st street entrance. From there is an elevator to the first floor, and you can ask for a gallery pass to get to your group. The same applies for a wheelchair. If you would like to arrange to get a wheelchair, please see the section “Collapsible Stools and Wheelchairs”, below.
Payment and Admission
Scammers have been posting on the Facebook event that they have tickets for sale. This is a lie. Do not buy tickets from anyone but Nachliel Selavan.
We do not sell tickets online! Sign-up is done through contacting the tour guide, and tickets are paid through the information on the confirmation email.
“Don’t NY residents get free admission?”
“Isn’t it pay what you want?”
“I’m a member of the Met, can I get a discount on the tour?”
Self-guided tours* are required to pay full admission to the Met (members included), and the guide handle that on your behalf. If you would like to use the restrooms, the ground floor 81 street entrance has free access to restrooms without tickets.
If you would like to arrive early and roam the museum, please coordinate with me in advance so you can pick up your tickets at a special desk.
*a self-guided tour is a tour with an external guide to the Met, such as Torah Intermedia. This is a significant factor in the price of public tours.
I’ll be running late, where can I pick up my ticket?
I’d like to visit the museum earlier, and then join your tour.
Can I get my ticket early?
There is an Advance Ticket and Admission desk near the statue of Athena, where groups pick up ticket (not in the main line). You can pick up your tickets in advance, with coordination with the guide.
Please note, a tour must be cancelled 48 hours in advance (since tours are often on Sunday, and I do not work on Shabbat) in order to ensure the cancellation. If you cancel last minute, there is a late cancelation fee of 50% of your total order. You may switch to a different tour date or time should you choose to do so, but it must be done more than 48 hours in advance of your tour time. Thank you.
Meeting is near one of the large statues in the great hall, by the Statue of Athena, left side in Great Hall. (click to watch a cool video)
Please be considerate of people’s time, and let the guide know if you are running late
Accessibility and Walking Aid
Unlike the painting galleries, in which artwork is displayed on the wall, some tours are in archaeological galleries which take up considerable floor space. It all depends on the gallery. However, this often results in very little place for benches, and there is little room for sitting in most galleries.
We have a solution!
Collapsible stools, as well as wheelchairs, are available to clients with special accessibility requirements. However, these needs to be picked up on the ground floor, which is very much out of the way, and would take up considerable time.
If you would like a collapsible stool, or need a wheelchair arrangement, please contact us in advance to let us make the proper arrangements. Wheelchairs, in general, enter on the street level entrance, AKA 81st Street entrance. From there, there is an elevator to the first floor, and if you are part of a group, you may request a special pass so you can get to the group without paying admission.
The Met has parking, and there is free or meter street parking within the near blocks on the Upper East Side.Parking meters in many areas in NYC are free on weekends. You can park a few blocks away from the Met, please give yourself ample time to find a spot and to walk over.
Restrooms and Refreshments
The average length of a tour is two hours. Some tours have a built-in bathroom break, some don’t.It is best to relieve yourself before you join the tour, to make sure that our time is maximized and that we can start on time, without waiting for people to return.While restrooms are available on every floor of the Met, they are not necessarily too close to the galleries we are exploring.Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the floor map of the Met.
Water fountains are to be found near most of the public bathrooms, but not all. Please bring a water bottle, and a simple bag/satchel to help you have free hands while carrying it.We repeat: Please bring water! A tour nearing two hours will make you thirsty, and you will stay refreshed and will not miss out if you do not leave on an adventure to find the nearest fountain.
Cohanim at the Met
Will be completed soon:
For Cohanim, being under the same roof as a deceased may be an issue. To address this issue, I will first of all quote the Shulchan Aruch:
According to the Shulchan Aruch, for Sepharadim there is no issue of tum’ah of a non-Jew in an Ohel. For Ashkenazim, the Rama permits entering such a space for a “צורך גדול” – for a “great necessity”. After discussing this with my great uncle, Rabbi Dovid Cohen (Gevul Yaabetz, Brooklyn), he said that the definition of “great necessity” is variable, and depends on the personal judgement of the situation. Parnassah, or profession, are a justifiable cause. Education, i.e. learning Torah, is as well, and if learning in the museum is important to you, and you recognize the value of bringing Torah to life (no pun intended) in this situation, it would be permissible.
All of this is assuming that there are dead bodies exposed in the museum. Which there are not.
All of the mummies are protected by sealed glass cases with at least a “tefah” (handbreadth) of space above them, or they are behind a sealed glass wall. These walls and containers are not opened during visiting hours. This being the case (source will be cited), even if the body was Jewish, it would not be a problem.
This means that for Cohanim, there should be no problem entering the Met at all times.
I further inquired about the cremated remains of Romans, and R Cohen said there is no problem at all. These remains are also behind a sealed glass compartment.
When you join a tour, we would like to make sure you have the best experience possible, and also have the ability to follow up on ideas and questions you have throughout the tour, or after the tour. It is important that you be able to follow the ideas presented with something concrete, which is why we hand out timelines, source sheets or activity sheets.It all depends on the type of tour. We’re sure you would love to become an expert on the history of a particular period (or perhaps already are) – and in one museum tour, we’re afraid that need can’t be met.
The history is very important, as it gives context to what we are looking at, and the artifacts themselves help bring the verse to life.
Nonetheless, the museum is not the best setting for a history class, and we try our best to give sufficient overview, without overwhelming with historical details. The materials we provide should hopefully be enough of an anchor that you will be able to take notes, revisit your ideas, question my presentation, and in general, engage better with the artifacts.
We am always happy to follow up and suggest materials and discuss ideas, and we also give classes and workshops in classroom settings and in communities. But in the museum, the preference is to engage with the artifacts as much as possible – where the history provides the context.
What Tours do you do?
As of now, we do several holiday-cycle related tours, and several topical tours (parasha or other), as well as various casual walkthrough tours in different museum. See the full list here.
All tours are available on private request at a time of your convenience, and my schedule. Certain tours are offered publicly, periodically. For example, the Channukah tour is offered during October-November, the Pesach tour is offered during April-May, the Yom Yerushalayim tour in May-June, and the Age of Empires (“three weeks” appropriate) in June-September.
What other Museums do you do?
Oh lots: The Brooklyn Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Carlos Museum, Chicago Oriental Institute, Israel Museum, British Museum, and more.
Below, from left to right: British Museum, Chicago Oriental Institute, Brooklyn Museum, Israel Museum
Taking Pictures and Social Media
Even better – post them on your preferred social media and please show your gratitude by tagging and linking to helpful information for others to hear about it!
The Met currently does not allow videos, and each museum is different. Have fun with Facebook or Instagram and please tag me. On Facebook it’s Torah Intermedia, and Intagram it’s @Torah_Intermedia, and have fun with your hashtags. Here are some that I like to recommend:
#Torahintermedia #TanachinTheMet #TanachintheCity #TanachintheMuseum #rubberduckychallenge (if applicable)
#TanachintheMuseum #rubberduckychallenge (if applicable)
No flash. Artifacts are light sensitive and need to be preserved.
Our society is becoming increasingly accepting of usage of personal devices for personal conversations in public areas. It invades people’s privacy and ability to be fully present.
Speaking on the phone in the galleries is disturbing and distracting, and during a paid tour, is considered rude.
You are paying for this time, please make the best of it. If you are with family and children, please be mindful of the message this is sending your children.
A phone that goes off during a tour tour in a museum and in close quarters is distracting and invasive. We ask that your double check that your phones are on silent mode the entire time (“don’t be that guy”), and that you refrain from taking calls. This time is an investment of time and money on your part, and we would all like it to be put to the best use. If you feel you must answer a call, please step out of the galleries so as not to disrupt the ongoing tour.
Can my 5 year old come on tour?
Some tours are more child friendly, some are less. Sometimes, a private tour or family-oriented tour is better than a public tour. Usually, the website will list what tour is good for children, or if there is a separate track for families with children.
It all boils down to knowing your child. We’ve had 5 year old children who were engaged, and 16 year olds who did not connect.When in doubt, please ask me.
Most Public tours are geared towards adults, and could accommodate children ages 12 and up.