A tourist’s New York museum itinerary would not be complete without visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Prominently known as The Met, it is one of the foremost art museums worldwide and the largest in the US. Its main building is located at Fifth Avenue, Central Park in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Cloisters is the Met’s second location, situated in Upper Manhattan at Fort Tyron Park.
Evolution of Arts at the Met
The museum was founded in 1870, aiming to bring art and art education to the American public. The building complex at Central Park was opened to the public in 1880. From there, the museum had several curatorial divisions added over the years.
- The American section (1924) includes a part of the marble façade from the US Branch Bank on Wall Street.
- The Cloisters (1938) or Met Cloisters exhibits European medieval art and designs during the Romanesque and the Gothic periods.
- The Robert Lehman Wing (1975) houses the Old Masters and various Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artworks.
- The Sackler Wing (1978) contains ancient Egyptian relics and a monument given by Egypt.
- The American Wing (1980) stores the world’s largest collection of American arts.
- The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing (1982) is home to different artifacts from the Americas, Africa, and Oceania.
- The Lila Acheson Wallace Wing (1987) presents a wide range of modern art pieces.
- The Henry R. Kravis Wing (1990) shows a comprehensive display of European sculptures and decorative works of art that dates back to the 20th century.
- A curatorial gallery was added in 2011 showcasing the arts of Turkey, Iran, Central, and South Asia.
- The “Met Breuer”, an expansion built in 2016 to host modern and contemporary exhibitions and 21st-century fine art, commissions, residencies, and art education programs.
Ancient Finds and More
Other than art pieces, paintings, and sculpture, the Met is host to fascinating collections from musical instruments, costumes, accessories, weapons, and furniture to notable architecture and interiors of different eras. There is also an exclusive library, the Thomas J. Watson Library, open for staff and visiting scholars, containing the most complete references in the fields of art and archeology. The public can access the Nolen Library, great for readers of all ages.