Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or The MET for short, as you may often hear among New Yorkers, has been located on the eastern edge of Central Park since 1870. It exhibits world-renowned works by the greatest artists, and 7 million tourists pass through the gates of the Metropolitan Museum of Art each year.

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With over 190,000square feet of spaceand more than 2 million exhibits, the MET is the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere and the 5th largest museum in the world.

What to expect at the museum and the MET's collections

With a little exaggeration, the MET is a huge museum that hides several other smaller museums in its bowels. The art collections come from different periods and from different parts of the world.

You should definitely not miss the following departments. If you're really interested in art, make sure you set aside at least 2 days to visit the Met.

Egyptian Art

New York's Metropolitan Museum is one of the world's most important institutions with Egyptian collections. Moreover, most of the more than 26,000 artifacts come from the MET's own archaeological work, which is done directly by MET staff.

Among the main displays of not only the Egypt Department, but the entire museum, is the original Temple of Dendera, which would be destroyed during the construction of the Aswan Dam and thus was donated to the United States. After being dismantled, it is reassembled in a separate huge hall of the museum, dating from around 15 BC.

Other important monuments are the tomb of Perneb from the 2nd millennium BC or the statues from the sanctuary of Queen Hatshepsut. In total, for avid Egyptologists, a visit to this section alone will take over 2 hours.

Asian Art

The Far Eastern art wing, which is unparalleled in Europe, is extremely comprehensive. There are over 35,000 objects from India, China and Japan, dating back to several thousand years BC.

The Ming Dynasty garden court is a popular exhibition.

Greek and Roman antiquity

The collection comprises over 17,000 objects from the earliest times of ancient Greece to late Rome and is one of the oldest collections in the museum. Highlights include the monumental Amathus sarcophagus from the 5th century BC and an Etruscan chariot.

Among the most popular exhibits are detailed reconstructions of the frescoes and paintings of the noble villa of Boscoreale, which was buried by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Islamic art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York boasts one of the world's largest collections of artwork from across the Islamic world. However, this department does not specialize directly in objects with religious themes, but all artistic artifacts originating from the world where Islam is the main religion.

Among the highlights of this wing is the collection of miniature paintings from Iran and Mughal India.

Numerous manuscripts, ceramics and textiles are also among the more than 12,000 objects.

European paintings, sculpture and decorative arts

The European continent is represented at the MET in two departments.

The first is devoted purely to paintings covering the period from the 13th to the 20th century and features famous paintings by European greats. Examples include:

  • Rembrandt: Aristotle with a bust of Homer
  • Vermeer: Young Woman with a Water Jug
  • Van Eyck: The Last Judgement
  • Brueghel the Elder: The Harvest
  • Titian: Venus and the lutenist
  • Van Gogh: Madame Ginoux
  • Cézanne: Still Life with Apples

In total, there are over 1,700 paintings to admire.

The second department is dedicated to sculpture and three-dimensional art and is the largest in the entire museum. It has more than 50,000 objects and is mainly devoted to the Renaissance period.

The American Wing

Of course, the department covering artists from the American continent is not to be missed. For Europeans, this wing is rather exotic, as there are not many major museums in Europe mapping the art of the United States.

For visitors, this wing provides paintings, sculptures and other objects mainly from the 18th to the 20th century.

Other wings of the museum that did not fit into our detailed overview:

  • Ancient Near East - over 7,000 objects from Sumer, Babylon and Elam
  • Africa, Oceania and South America - over 11,000 artefacts ranging from Australian murals to Inca monuments
  • Weapons and Armour - an extremely popular exhibition of over 14,000 military objects ranging from 5th century Japanese swords to 20th century firearms
  • Clothing and Fashion - over 35,000 examples of fashionable suits and accessories, often hosting exhibitions of famous fashion designers
  • Musical instruments - over 5,000 exhibits of musical instruments from around the world throughout history
  • Robert Lehman Collections - a private collection of European painting

MET building and roof garden

The museum building itself is already a remarkable part of the museum, the original part of which is built in a monumental Beaux-Arts style. The original part was completed in 1880, but over the decades it has been gradually expanded and added to with modernist glass extensions, and continues to be gradually expanded further.

In total, the building is over 400 metres long and ranks among the largest museum buildings in the world.

An extremely popular part of the museum is the free-access rooftop garden, which overlooks Central Park and the skyline of high-rise residential buildings on its south side. You will find a café, a bistro, many loungers and benches and lots of greenery.

Admission and opening hours

Admission was voluntary for a long time, but as of 2018 there is a regular admission fee.

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adults - 30 USD
  • Seniors over 65 - $22
  • Students with valid ISIC card - 17 USD
  • Under 12 - free

We recommend buying tickets through the official website in advance, this way you can avoid the often very long queues at the box office.

Open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 10:00-19:00, while on Fridays and Saturdays until 21:00.

On Wednesdays, the museum gates remain closed.

Official museum website:

How to get to the MET?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on Fifth Avenue, roughly right on the edge of Central Park.

You can get here by taking the 6 green subway, with the nearest stop being 86 St Lexington Av. or from the Natural History Museum, which is on the other side of Central Park, by taking the M79-SBS bus from E 79 St/5 Av (MET) to Columbus Av/w 80 St (AMoNH).

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