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The Secrets of NYC's Best Museums Are Revealed, Thanks to #MuseumWeek

Learn the secrets of the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, and more NYC institutions

Culture vultures who aren't on Instagram (as if that's even possible), this may be the week you need to cave and get an account. It's #MuseumWeek on the platform (and Twitter), with institutions around the world participating and sharing bits of their collections with the public.

Today is an especially cool theme, too: it's all about secrets of different museums, and plenty of New York institutions are participating. Keep reading for some fascinating secrets of museums like the Guggenheim (which Frank Lloyd Wright apparently wanted to name something else altogether), the Museum of Modern Art, the Noguchi Museum (which still uses one very old piece of original curatorial equipment) and more.

Did you know there is a hidden mural by #JoanMiró permanently installed in the rotunda of our Frank Lloyd Wright building? "Alicia" (1965–67) is comprised of 190 separate ceramic tiles and is obscured by the first wall encountered as one ascends the museum's spiral ramp. Thomas M. Messer, the Guggenheim Museum's director from 1961 to 1988, contacted Miró in 1963 following the proposal of Harry F. Guggenheim, then president of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, to commission an appropriate memorial to Guggenheim's wife, Alicia Patterson Guggenheim, who died that year at the age of 56. Miró undertook the project with enthusiasm, writing to Messer in August of 1966 and noting the significance he ascribes to the firing process in the completion of his ceramic works: "I am delighted to tell you that the great mural has already been started. I am very hopeful about the results of this first stage. Let's hope that our great friend Fire will also bring us his richness and his beauty for the next steps." #SecretsMW

A photo posted by Guggenheim Museum (@guggenheim) on

Today #MuseumWeek kicks off on Twitter with a day dedicated to sharing behind-the-scene glimpses of our museums. Here, a visitor blithely strides by one of the many hidden #MoMAPS1 gems. "Selbstlos im Lavabad (Selfless in the Bath of Lava)" by Pipilotti Rist, is one of our long-term installations, embedded in a hole within the floorboards of our main lobby. The video presents the artist crying out "I am a worm and you are a flower!" audibly as she swims nude in an incandescent lava bath. When it was exhibited in Zurich in 1994, it was placed at the foot of a Madonna and Child sculpture to emphasize the religious notion of damnation. Follow along all week on #Twitter for more Museum Week fun! #secretsMW #hiddengem #PipilottiRist @MuseumWeek

A photo posted by MoMA PS1 (@momaps1) on

#AntonSeidl, the future principal conductor of the #MetropolitanOpera, came to Bayreuth as an apprentice in 1872 on the advice of Hans Richter. Seidl lived with Richard Wagner's family for six years, and among other things was a copyist on the "Ring." Working as a coach and staging assistant on the 1876 performances positioned him to conduct the work throughout Central Europe and England. Much sought after by the Metropolitan Opera, Seidl came to New York in 1885 and spread the #Wagner canon to the United States. He conducted the spectacular American premiere of the complete "Ring" cycle in March 1889. Learn more in our exhibition #WagnersRing on view through April 17. Image: Anton Seidl (1850–1898), Photograph by Falk, New York. Metropolitan Opera Archives @metopera #MetOpera #MorganLibrary #MuseumWeek #secretsMW

A photo posted by The Morgan Library & Museum (@themorganlibrary) on

We'll be celebrating #MuseumWeek all week long! Seven days, seven hashtag themes. Follow along and connect with us and museums from around the world Today's theme: #secretsMW We're sharing a secret with you. Read this #telegram. There's something a bit odd - and it's because it's written using #code! Pierpont Morgan often communicated using a secret code to maintain privacy on sensitive matters. Here the code words are written out in red to help us decipher the meaning. This telegram shares details on an exciting opportunity to purchase the #LindauGospels! You know how the story ends. Pierpont purchased the manuscript, and it's now on view here at the Morgan ✨ #SecretsMW #MuseumWeek #MorganLibrary

A photo posted by The Morgan Library & Museum (@themorganlibrary) on