Go incognito at the Met, a museum so famous you won’t believe its dark history and shocking stories

New York City

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In a Nutshell

Art historian peers through the Met's august facade, revealing the questionable purchases and scholarly frauds that built its collection

The Fine Print

Expiration varies. Amount paid never expires. Limit 8 per person. Valid only for option purchased. Refundable only on day of purchase. Min. of 4 participants or experience subject to cancellation. No value after experience date & time have passed. Experience Provider is issuer of tickets for experience. Price reflects Experience Provider’s current prices. Must provide email address at checkout, which SideTour will provide to facilitate redemption. Must be 18 or older. Gratuity included. Be on time to experience. Admission not included. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

What You'll Do

When you start a museum, the first thing you need to do is get your hands on some art. That can be hard, though, when you're a century or four behind in the acquisition game. The Metropolitan Museum of Art decided not to let that stop them, indiscriminately snapping up stolen, looted, and forged works with equal abandon. As you walk the halls of the museum, art historian Erin Thompson teaches you how to spot these less-than-kosher pieces through subtle giveaways in museum labels. She also discusses the scandals, both sexual and scholarly, that have taken place behind the august institution's facade.

  • Learn About the Met's Less-Than-Wholesome Past
    Art historian Erin Thompson regales tour groups with stories of forgeries, looted pieces, and shocking scandals

  • Sniff Out Fishy Artwork
    Glean the telltale placard language and giveaway details that can signal a work's fishy provenance

Each event is capped at eight participants; each event requires a minimum of four participants in order to take place.

Your Host

Erin Thompson Erin Thompson
Art Historian

Erin Thompson's résumé includes several accomplishments that you might expect from an art historian, such as a Ph.D. in ancient Greek and Roman art history. What's more unusual about her credentials is her J.D., which is a testament to her wide-ranging curiosity and lawyerly attention to detail. Leavened with a self-described "dirty mind," her restless intellect has led her to such projects as writing a novel and developing a patented technique for detecting forged artwork. Using her technique—which requires some bravery, if not an unblushing demeanor—she closely investigates the human reproductive parts in any given painting, and finds details that can reveal the piece to be authentic or a fraud.

Scheduled Dates

  • Friday
    November 8 | November 22
    December 6

  • Saturday
    November 9 | November 16 | November 23
    December 7

  • Sunday
    November 10 | November 17 | November 24
    December 8

Depending on the date, tours are available for the following times:
1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. | 2 p.m.–3:30 p.m. | 3 p.m.–4:30 p.m. | 4 p.m.–5:30 p.m. | 5:30 p.m.–7p.m. | 6 p.m.–7:30 p.m. | 7:15 p.m.–8:45 p.m.

Where You'll Meet

Housed in an imposing Beaux-Arts edifice, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the country's largest art museum. Today, between its airy exhibition halls and secure storage facilities, the space holds more than two million artifacts and pieces of art from around the world.

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