New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is one of the world’s premier destinations for artistic and historical exhibitions. But this epicenter of worldly culture is not above admitting the occasional mistake. Even when the correction comes from one curious 13-year-old boy.
The Hartford Courant reports that 13-year-old Benjamin Lerman Coady found an error in the Met’s Byzantine Gallery during a recent visit. The seventh-grader is a fledgling history buff who recently studied the Byzantine Empire in school.
While checking some of the dates on the map, Coady noticed that sections featuring Spain and Africa were missing.
Before leaving the museum, Coady attempted to inform the museum that the map was inaccurate. “The front desk didn’t believe me,” he told the paper. “I’m only a kid.”
However, Coady received an email from the museum’s senior vice president for external affairs, notifying him that his request was being forwarded to the museum’s medieval affairs department for further review.
A few months later, Helen Evans, the Met’s curator for Byzantine art, sent Coady an email: “You are, of course, correct about the boundaries of the Byzantine Empire under Justinian,” she wrote.
Evans even invited Coady back to the museum to meet with her in person. She says the Met is working on updating the map but isn’t sure when a new, more accurate rendition can be put on display.
So, what lesson did Coady take from his experience? “If you have a question, always ask it,” he told the paper. “Always take chances.”