It had been years since I stepped into the Morgan Library & Museum, but news that a recent restoration will open up JP Morgan’s private vault and his librarian’s office to the public stoked my interest in visiting.

I headed down there tonight (admission is free every Friday night from 7-9 PM). More than anything, I enjoyed the exhibit, “Mark Twain: A Skeptic’s Progress,” which runs through January 2, 2011. There’s lots of thought-provoking material in the exhibit–photographs, manuscripts, letters, and ephemera–but the part I found most interesting was the section of the exhibit that focuses on Twain as traveler:

“An inveterate traveler, Twain crisscrossed the Atlantic more than a dozen times and also visited Turkey, Palestine, Hawaii, Australia, India, and South Africa. Wherever he went, he always absorbed the scenery and in his mind played the part of the American Vandal, the rube traveler who pretends to understand things he doesn’t.”

Simultaneously comedic and macabre illustrations from his book, Following the Equator, are on display as part of the exhibit. If you happen to be in Manhattan before the show ends, check out the exhibit.