New York's Morgan Library and Museum is celebrating, through February 12, the 200th birthday of novelist Charles Dickens with a big show of his memorabilia including original manuscripts, letters, books, photos and original illustrations. Besides the manuscript for his ever popular "A Christmas Carol," the show includes his manuscript for "Our Mutual Friend," part of which the author apparently retrieved from a train wreck.
The Morgan will drop its $15 admission charge and admit visitors free if they mention Charles Dickens' birthday on the great man's big day, February 7.
For one day only, the magic words not only grant access to the Dickens' exhibit, but to the entire sumptuous museum which is housed in a 1906 Italian-Renaissance style palazzo that was once home to banker-aesthete Pierpont Morgan. A 2006 expansion by Renzo Piano added a glass courtyard, new shop and restaurant, concert hall and other modern amenities that make the Morgan a highlight of midtown Manhattan. It's collections range from manuscripts by Mozart, Byron, Poe, Mark Twain and Dickens to contemporary poetry and music. Plus art.
More museums should offer get-in-free passes to celebrate artists' birthdays. Think of Michelangelo (March 6, 1475); Dante Gabriel Rossetti (May 12, 1828); Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928); Diego Velazquez (June 6, 1599); Pablo Picasso (October 25, 1881); Rembrandt (July 15, 1606); Maxfield Parrish (July 25, 1870). The list goes on.