museum’s most significant since 1942.
For more than 40 years, Ronald S. Lauder collected knights in shining armor. Now he has decided to be one.
At a time when cultural institutions all over the world are struggling in the
pandemic, the cosmetics magnate and philanthropist is giving 91 pieces of arms and
armor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which the New York institution is calling
the most important donation of its kind in 80 years.
The Arms and Armor galleries have long been one of the museum’s main
attractions, a gateway to culture for children captivated by the majestic warriors on
horseback and an internationally renowned collection of chain mail, helmets and
breastplates from Europe, Asia, America and the Middle East.
Those galleries will be named after Mr. Lauder. “When I was collecting, I was collecting with the Met in mind,” he said in an interview. “Many of the things I bought were things the Met did not have.”
Mr. Lauder, who declined to disclose the donation’s value, said he decided to give at
a time when so many museums were worried about the future. “It’s important to
say, ‘We still care about institutions,’” he said. “It’s an important symbol.”