I have a slight (probably unhealthy) obsession with hidden doorways and staircases so it’s not a surprise that I love The Morgan Library & Museum. It’s also where I had THE BEST SCONE EVER a while back. It was time for a return visit to the hidden staircase and to see if the scones were as good as I remembered.
At noon on Tuesday, I joined a tour – free with museum admission – of the Permanent Collection led by a docent. The tour I was on had about 15 people (which is the limit for each tour), so make sure you get there a bit earlier to put your name down on the tour list at the admission desk.
A tour is as good as its docent and my tour was fantastic! Grace, our tour guide was concise, kept a great pace, spoke clearly, and knew everything about anything about the library. It was a very informative hour.
The library is grand with three levels of books. How do you get to the upper levels? Through staircases hidden behind bookcases. I’ve seen this secret door open once, years ago. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a part of the tour and I was disappointed it wasn’t open. Apparently, there’s another set of hidden staircases used by the staff from an adjoining room that allows access to this library as well, which I have never seen. *Shaking fist in air*
Across the library is Morgan’s private study. Lined in red silk damask wall covering, the study, of course, comes with its own manuscript vault.
After the tour, I walked the exhibitions then headed down to the first floor. There’s a separate dining room but I wanted the afternoon tea service which is only served in the cafe.
I ordered The Morgan Tea which is a scaled down version of traditional afternoon tea. Tea from Harney & Sons complement their tasty tea service. The tea sandwiches were small but very good and the lemon tart wedge was delicious. Now the scone. The last time I had THE BEST SCONE EVER from The Morgan was a few years ago and the scone I had this time was good, especially with the fig compote, but it wasn’t the same.
If you want a snack, The Morgan Tea is a good choice. If you’re in the area, just stop by since you don’t need to pay admission to enter the cafe.
Note: Tours of the Permanent Collection are on Tuesday and Fridays at noon and on Saturdays at noon and 2PM.
LOCATION: The Morgan Library & Museum | 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street | New York, NY 10016 | 212.685.0008
ADMISSION: $15 (Adults) | Free on Fridays from 7PM – 9PM