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Hyperallergic’s April Fool’s Article Is Once Again The Best Thing Ever: Airbnb’ing The Met

Apr 3, 2017

A view of one of the many listings by the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Airbnb (screenshot by the author)

Today, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Airbnb launched a partnership that will allow visitors to rent out several of the institution’s historical rooms for a night at a time. The announcement comes after reports that the Upper East Side museum, which was the second-most-visited in the world last year and had a budget of roughly $300 million, is facing a budget shortfall of $10 million. Now, as it looks to capitalize on its collection in unconventional ways, the Met is hoping it can replicate the kind of viral success the Art Institute of Chicago enjoyed recently with its Vincent van Gogh-themed Airbnb partnership.

“The Met has one of the richest collections of meticulously preserved and exquisitely finished historic interiors in the world, and it’s time we monetized those holdings,” the Metropolitan Museum’s President, Daniel Weiss, told Hyperallergic. “Imagine waking up in the exquisite, 18th-century Damascus Room and then strolling through the Ancient Near Eastern Art galleries to have a quiet breakfast at the Great Hall Balcony Bar before any other visitors  have even entered the museum. We hope these kinds of experiences will give our public a more intimate appreciation of our collection.”

The partnership, officially dubbed “The Metbnb,” will require extensive collaboration between the museum’s conservation, security, cleaning, and catering staff to ensure a safe and comfortable stay for renters, but outgoing Met director Thomas P. Campbell is certain they are up to this unconventional challenge. “We’re a 21st-century museum after all,” he said. “Digital engagement has been one of my top priorities over the last eight years, and projects like this one show how digital initiatives can translate directly into people coming to the museum and experiencing its collections in new ways.”