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Numerous films, lectures and classes have been presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in connection with the Degas exhibit, which opened in October.

Although the retrospective is in its final weeks, it's not too late to take advantage of some of these educational programs.Introductory slide lectures, to inform exhibit-goers about the life and work of Edgar Degas, the noted French Impressionist, are still being given by special appointment at the museum.

Recorded tours of the retrospective are available for rental. Fees are $2.50 for museum members and $3 for non-members. For further information, call 212-570-3821.

The 640-page catalog of the exhibition continues to be on sale. Special prices during the run of the Degas show are $45 for the hardcover edition and $35 for the paperback.

On Jan. 8, the closing day of the exhibit, two films and a lecture will be presented in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Met at 5th Avenue and 82nd Street.

A film, "Unquiet Spirit: The Life and Art of Edgar Degas," will be shown at 11:45 a.m.

At 3 p.m., Gary Tinterow will discuss "The Degas Retrospective." Tinterow is an associate curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was one of the members of the scientific committee that gathered art works for the Degas show - the first retrospective of the work of the artist and sculptor in 50 years.

Another film, "Degas in the Metropolitan" is scheduled for 4 p.m.

The films are free with admission to the museum. (Tickets are $5 for general admission, $2.50 for senior citizens and $2.50 for students.) Free tickets to Tinterow's lecture are available on Jan. 8 on a first-come, first-served basis at the Uris Center Information Desk at the museum (81st Street entrance). Tickets are limited to two per request.

The Degas retrospective is one of the most significant exhibitions to come to the Metropolitan in many years, according to personnel. But the mammoth presentation is just one of many events going on at the museum.

A big drawing card during the holiday season is the Christmas tree and baroque creche display. This annual display spotlights a collection of 18th Century baroque Neapolitan creche figures presented to the museum in 1964 by the late Loretta Hines Howard.

The visitor who'll be in New York on or before Feb 5 will have a chance to see an exhibition of artist Georgia O'Keefe's work. (O'Keefe is one of the best-known artists of the 20th Century, and the art on display comes from her estate private collections and museums in the United States and abroad.)

The show, featuring more than 100 selections of the best of her abstractions - flower paintings, figure studies, cityscapes, still lifes and landscapes - marks the centennial of the artist's birth.

An exhibit, "It All Begins With A Dot" continues through Dec. 31. According to museum personnel, it's an especially good show for school-age children and their families who might be planning a trip to Manhattan. The show explores the way 20th Century artists use line to create vistual images. Featured artists include Joan Miro, Stuart Davis, Jackson Pollock, Saul Steinberg and Jose de Rivera. Interactive exercises for young viewers are available to enhance their learning experience.

An exhibit of the work of the Italian artist Umberto Boccioni, a practioner of Futurism, runs through Jan. 8. It is the first retrospective in the United States devoted to his complete achievement as an artist.

"Architecture on Paper: A Decade of Acquisitions" also continues through Jan. 8. It focuses on architectural drawings, books and prints from the late 16th Century through the present acquired by the Metropolitan during the last 10 years.

Drawings, prints and photographs (around 125 of them) recently acquired by the museum will be shown through Jan. 8 as well.

A display of the photographs of the Maori of New Zealand, drawn from the holdings of the museum's Robert Goldwater Library, Department of Primitive Art, are on view Tuesday through Friday, 1 - 4:30 p.m. until Jan. 8.

Through Jan 15, an exhibition of approximately 50 objects made by the peoples of West Africa, will be featured. The exhibit includes masks, figurative ornaments and decorated household objects.

Collages and prints of the American artist Anne Ryan (1889-1954) are on display through Jan. 29.

Art from Liberia and the Ivory Coast is being shown through Jan 15.

Chinese Landscape Painting, featuring masterpieces created between and 11th and 14th Centuries and drawn from the museum's own collection are on display through Feb. 5.

Opening Dec. 14 will be "Ingres at the Metropolitan." About 30 paintings by the French artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), whose draftsmanship and portraiture profoundly influenced Edgar Degas, will be shown. (The Ingres exhibit runs through March 19).

On Dec. 15, the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute will open, "From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress 1837-1877." This exhibition documents clothing worn from the time Victoria became Queen of England until she was proclaimed Empress of India. It continues until April 16.

Opening Dec. 20 and running through March 19 will be "Painting in Renaissance Siena: 1420-1500." It is the first comprehensive exhibition to be devoted to the Italian school of painting during a pivotal period of western art.

An exhibit of the works of Frederic Remington ( 1861-1909), portrayor of the American West, will open Feb. 11 and continue through April 16.

On Feb. 14, an exhibit of Indonesian textiles, dating from about the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century, will be spotlighted. The exhibit complements another museum show, "Islands and Ancestors," which opened in September and has an indefinite closing date.

The number of exhibitions staged at the mammoth Metropolitan Museum of Art continues to grow, as does its staff (around 1,800) and the number of visitors it attracts each year (4 million).

The museum occupies some 1.5 million square feet and extends from 80th to 84th Street on Fifth Avenue in New York City. It was founded in 1870 by a group of New York City civic leaders - among them William Cullen Bryant - and artists such as Frederic E. Church, Eastman Johnson and John F. Densee.

Although art scholars and patrons find much to see and study at the museum, it was established to appeal to the casual visitor as well. Its more than three million works of art offer a comprehensive survey of art from ancient civilizations to the present time. The institution is especially noted for its Islamic collection - the largest in existence. It has the most comprehensive collection of American art in the world and the largest holdings of European art outside Europe. In addition, the Metropolitan Museum is recognized as a treasure house of Far Eastern sculpture, paintings, bronzes and ceramics.

The primary goals of the museum, note personnel, are acquisition, preservation and interpretation. Special emphasis is placed on educational programs designed to help the public better appreciate and understand the significance of various artists and their contributions to culture and society.

Films, gallery tours, talks, introductory museum tours and lectures are offered daily. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Tuesday's hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday.