The Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to thousands of historical artworks and artifacts from around the world. It’s one of the world’s most astounding art museums and New York City is fortunate to have such an institution. With two million square feet of exhibition space and thousands of objects, the Met can be overwhelming in its vast collection. With 7.06 million visitors in 2016, it was the second most visited art museum in the world, and the fifth most visited museum of any kind.

Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Metropolitan Museum Of Art

History of Metropolitan Museum Of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s earliest roots date back to 1866 in Paris, France, when a group of Americans agreed to create a “national institution and gallery of art”. On April 13, 1870, The Metropolitan Museum of Art was incorporated in New York City. Museum acquired its first object, a Roman sarcophagus, on November 20 of that same year. On March 30, 1880, the Museum opened to the public at its current site in Central Park at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street.

Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Metropolitan Museum Of Art: Opening reception

The Museum’s collections continued to grow throughout the rest of the nineteenth century. The Museum’s Beaux-Arts Fifth Avenue facade and Great Hall, designed by the architect and founding Museum Trustee Richard Morris Hunt, opened to the public in December 1902. The Evening Post reported that at last New York had a neoclassical palace of art, “one of the finest in the world, and the only public building in recent years which approaches in dignity and grandeur the museums of the old world.” By the twentieth century, the Museum had become one of the world’s great art centers. The ancient Egyptian hippopotamus statuette that is now the Museum’s unofficial mascot, “William,” entered the collection in 1917. Today, the Museum’s collection includes nearly two million works of art, which can be viewed at its three locations: The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters.

Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Metropolitan Museum Of Art: 5th avenue facade

Architecture of the Met

A red-brick and stone “mausoleum” was designed by American architect Calvert Vaux and his collaborator Jacob Wrey Mould. Vaux’s ambitious building was not well received. Within 20 years, a new architectural plan engulfing the Vaux building was already being executed. Since that time, many additions have been made including the distinctive Beaux-Arts Fifth Avenue facade, Great Hall, and Grand Stairway. These were designed by architect and Met trustee Richard Morris Hunt, but completed by his son, Richard Howland Hunt in 1902 after his father’s death. The architectural sculpture on the facade is by Karl Bitter.

Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Metropolitan Museum Of Art: Dome

The wings that completed the Fifth Avenue facade in the 1910s were designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White. The modernistic glass sides and rear of the museum are the work of Roche-Dinkeloo. Kevin Roche has been the architect for the master plan and expansion of the museum for the past 42 years.

As of 2010, the Met measures almost quarter mile (400 m) long and with more than 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of floor space, more than 20 times the size of the original 1880 building.


The Met’s permanent collection is curated by seventeen separate departments, each with a specialized staff of curators and scholars, as well as six dedicated conservation departments and a Department of Scientific Research. The museum is also home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, and antique weapons and armor from around the world. A number of notable interiors, ranging from 1st century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met’s galleries. In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the Met organizes and hosts large traveling shows throughout the year.

Geographically designated collections

  • Ancient Near Eastern art
  • Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
  • Asian art
  • Egyptian art
  • European paintings
  • European sculpture and decorative arts
  • The American Wing
  • Greek and Roman art
  • Islamic art
Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Metropolitan Museum Of Art: Staues

Non-geographically designated collections

  • Arms and Armor
  • The Costume Institute
  • Drawings and prints
  • Robert Lehman Collection
  • Medieval art and the Cloisters
  • Modern and contemporary art
  • Musical instruments
  • Photographs
  • Digital collection
  • Met Breuer

Each Department maintains a library, most of the material of which can be requested online through the libraries’ catalog. There are also two libraries that can be accessed without appointment; Thomas J. Watson Library and Nolen Library.

Opening times and admissions

Opening times at:

The Met Fifth Avenue:

Open Seven Days a Week
Sunday–Thursday: 10 am–5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 10 am–9 pm

The Met Breuer

Closed Monday
Tuesday–Thursday: 10 am–5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 10 am–9 pm
Sunday: 10 am–5:30 pm

The Met Cloisters

Open Seven Days a Week
March–October: 10 am–5:15 pm
November–February: 10 am–4:45 pm

Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Metropolitan Museum Of Art

All admission tickets include entry to The Met collection and all exhibitions. Tickets include same-day admission to The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer (closed Mondays) and The Met Cloisters. Tickets are valid for up to one year after the date of purchase.

If you buy tickets at a Museum ticket counter, the amount you pay is up to you. Suggested admission is $25 for adults; $17 for seniors; $12 for students; and free for Members, Patrons, and children under 12.

Tickets can be bought online here.

Are you into contemporary art? Visit Guggenheim museum!

Amazing NYC Metropolitan Museum Of Art
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