3. There was an Underground Shooting Range for Museum Guards

Main entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The tour guide of Untapped New York’s Secrets of the Met Museum Tour, Patrick Bringley, spent ten years as a museum guard, and he let us in on a “backstage” secret. The “backstage” areas of the Met are located underground below the galleries. Art and people travel through these underground passageways as they conduct the business that keeps the museum running. There has also been room for recreational spaces, including a shooting range in the 19th-century.

Secrets of the Met Museum Tour

According to a New York Times article from 1935, construction of the shooting range was part of a larger renovation project at the Museum with funds from the WPA. The article states that the gallery will have “targets, lockers, and all appurtenances necessary for the annual shooting contests held by the guards who watch over the museum.” These annual matches had already been taking place for several years in an improvised gallery space. You can uncover more backstage stories from the Met in Bringley’s forthcoming memoir, All the Beauty in the World.