13-Year-Old Boy Discovers Mistake On 6th Century Byzantine Empire?s Map At Metropolitan Museum Of Art

 
on May 04 2012 6:52 AM

Visitors often ask questions about the accuracy of an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but not all of them are right. However, a seventh grade boy has found out a mistake at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and he was right, says Helen Evans, one of the curators of the museum.

Benjamin Lerman Coady, a 13-year-old boy of West Hartford, last summer visited the museum with his mother.  

Coady is interested in history and his mother feels his passion for the subject. She tries to give Coady an atmosphere where he can freely explore his interests.

It's more a parent seeing the world through a child's eyes, Coady's mother Joanne Lerman told the Hartford Courant.

Coady, while touring the museum, was checking out a permanent exhibit about the Byzantine Empire - a part of history Coady had studied - when he spotted the mistake.

A map showing the purported empire in the 6th century was supposed to show when the empire was at its largest, but Spain and part of Africa were missing, the Hartford Courant reported quoting Coady.

After detecting the error, Coady informed a museum docent. The docent instructed him to fill out a form at the front desk about the error he has found out.  

The front desk didn't believe me, he said, explaining that the museum would not take his message seriously. I'm only a kid.

Coady, who never expected to hear back from the museum, received a letter in September from the museum's senior vice president for external affairs, in which it was said that his comments were being forwarded to the museum's medieval art department for assessment.  

In January, Evans, the curator for Byzantine art, sent Coady an email: You are, of course, correct about the boundaries of the Byzantine Empire under Justinian, she wrote in the email. Evans also offered Coady a chance to visit her at the museum.

When Coady received the email, he got surprised that the museum accepted their mistake. He also said that the process of asking a question taught him some valuable lesson.

If you have a question, always ask it, he said. Always take chances.

And as for the error, Evans said that the museum was working to fix it as soon as possible.

According to Evans, the mistake was probably made a few years ago when the map was reprinted and now the museum is trying to make a decision whether they should display more than one map showing the empire's history. 

Share this article

More News from IBT MEDIA