I copied this one from my other blog, since I think this is important enough to be heard around the net, especially Met going students like me.
I spent almost half the day browsing through the fine collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One surprising change in museum policy new visitors should be aware of is that back packs are no longer allowed within museum galleries (since the whole museum is one giant gallery, this means no back pack allowed within the museum for all practical purposes). This caught me completely by surprise and I asked quite a few security guards regarding the specifics of the policy. Some of them were almost as surprised as I was, stating that backpacks were allowed as long as it wasn’t excessively large and in danger of toppling displays, while some others were wholly aggressive in telling backpacking visitors to hold their bags in their hands. Of course, all of them were very polite and cordial about the whole affair, and I dare say some of them actually showed genuine concern at forcing some people to carry their (obviously heavy) backpacks in their hands.
I was somewhat confused for a while regarding the precise policy with bags within the museum though, and the fifty people I’ve seen walking around with backpacks didn’t really help clarify the matter. I talked with one particular security guard at length about the issue, and he told me that some person with a backpack scratched a Rembrandt, a priceless artifact for the human civilization if I say so myself (although I can’t validate the truth of what he said, I do feel that there were certain grim accidents within the museum in recent days). So I must tell anyone thinking of visiting the Met to try not to bring a backpack into the place, or else check it in at the coat check-in, where they will be happy to hold onto your heavy coat and bag for you, free of charge. If a security guard asks you to hold your bag instead of wearing it, please don’t feel insulted, as you are not being singled out. The works in the Met aren’t pretty display pieces that can be restored or replaced when misfortune befalls them. They are singular heritage gathered over the course of human history, and we all should take a part in conserving them for future generations. In front of such an importance, mere discomfort at not being able to bring certain types of bag into the museum should not be a reason to threaten the priceless works of art.