While in NYC last week I did make a visit to the new location of the American Numismatic Society.
I was pleased that the building is right at the subway exit/entrance for the #1 downtown local. All well and good if you are on the #1. The Canal Street Stops for the N, R, W, M, J are several blocks away.
While walking in the neighborhood there are two relatively new boutique hotels, so for out-of-town visitors they can experience the neighborhood and not be bothered by subway travel to the location. They will just be a subway ride away from the finanacial district (downtown) or Midtown.
Does the building look like it houses the largest numismatic library and collection in the US? No, it is a modern office building coversion. Pleasant lobby, elevators, common security.
Once on the floor where the ANS now resides on a part of, there are no exterior signs to point the way to the relatively small security cubicle where one gets an ID, and the person you are visiting fetches you.
Once inside, there is a hall which contains the exhibition area, and next to that a public meeting room (for 75 or so) decorated with framed galvanos of many ANS medals and some others – one of note is a wonderful Chief Joseph portrait. Most of these formerly decorated the wall of the council’s meeting room (The Reiley Room) or the hallways at the 155th Street building.
Then there is a seperation, one direction is the library, rare book room, the Sage Society members room and the executive offices. In the other direction is a small conference room, the curatorial rooms and the coin vault.
The Library area seemed very organized, with the rolling shelves, reading tables and such. The Curatorial areas seemed a bit crowned and cramped for space, with stray boxes of research casts which has yet to be unpacked and unused exhibit cases. Gives the impression of a hasty move and too little non-public “dead” storage areas.
The vault is impressive in size, however, the visible exterior of the steel box is decorated with swirles, which sadly are more often scratched, and look unfinished. A nice effect, but done poorly.
I’ll have to warm up to it.