MET New York: its history
The New York MET opened its doors over 140 years ago, in 1872. Today, this museum is the most prestigious and the largest in the Big Apple. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was created by wealthy Americans for a specific purpose: to compete with other major European museums.
Over time, the MET has moved several times. Indeed, before settling down east of Central Park, the museum was located in Midtown, on 5th Avenue. This change of address was made possible by an agreement with New York City.
An impressive building
The structure of the museum is part of a neoclassical style, but over time this has changed. Indeed, the building has grown and many rooms have appeared.
Note that today, the MET does not have enough room to expand on the ground, but the surface of this museum is impressive: it extends over more than 180 000m². Inside, more than 250 works from all over the world are exhibited there and each year the museum attracts 5.2 million visitors. In these figures, those of The Cloisters museum are included since the latter is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What are the collections to admire at the MET?
What is the organization of the MET?
The different parts of the museum
Listing the 250 works of the MET would be very long. However, here is the list of 17 parts and the types of works they contain:
- The American Wing which exhibits American art from the 17th to the 20th century.
- The ancient arts of the Near East.
- Japanese, European armor and weapons and many more.
- The arts of America, Oceania and Africa: textiles, sculptures ...
- Asian art: paintings, sculptures ...
- The art of Egypt which brings together 20 works dating from the 000th millennium BC to 5 years after JC
- European paintings by great artists dating from 1250 to 1800.
- Prints and drawings (temporary exhibitions).
- Decorative arts and European sculptures.
- Roman and Greek arts.
- Islamic art.
- The works of Robert Lehman from the 14th to the 20th century.
- Medieval art which brings together works dating from the 4th to the 16th century.
- Contemporary and modern art: paintings, sculptures ...
- Musical instruments.
- Sculptures and paintings from the 19th and 20th century.
- The photographs (temporary exhibitions).
Where to find these different parts?
On the first floor (second floor), you can find the section of American, Oceanic and African arts. Here, you will have the chance to discover the 3 pieces by Nelson Rockefeller or sculptures by Buli Master. It is also on this floor that you will have the opportunity to admire decorative arts and sculptures like the famous statue “The bourgeois of Calais” by Auguste Rodin. Egyptian works are also magnificent. They are listed in chronological order. Behind the main staircase, you will find the collection ofmedieval art where armor and other period artifacts await! Finally, the weapons and armor will delight the most passionate among you since combat masks, sabers and many other things will amaze you.
On the second floor (third floor), you can admire photographs, drawings and prints famous artists. The collection ofjapanese art houses costumes and very beautiful tapestries. Not far from the latter, theislamic art is represented. Here you can find magnificent treasures like the rugs from Iran. These works date from 632 BC until the 19th century. The department of european paintings is very rich and a very large part of the collection was bequeathed by Benjamin Altman, a millionaire entrepreneur.
Other reasons to visit the New York MET
Besides its impressive collection of works, the MET also offers conferences, events and screenings of short films, but not only! Here is a quick overview of the other things you can find there.
THEUris Center is located on the first floor and offers its visitors reading rooms and the Nolen bookstore where hundreds of books on art history await you. This library is open access, so you can go there as you see fit.
Le Great Hall Balcony Hall
If you fancy a drink and an original aperitif, go to Great Hall Balcony Hall ! Here you can sip sophisticated cocktails accompanied by appetizers and soft music. You can enjoy this moment of relaxation on the balcony with a bird's eye view of the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (only Friday and Saturday from 16 p.m. to 20:30 p.m.).
Le Roof Garden Cafe
Located at the top of the museum, the Roof Garden Cafe offers a terrace where a beautiful view awaits you. You will also enjoy donor sculptures. These are renewed on a regular basis. Here you can enjoy some snacks and a drink while enjoying the tranquility of the place. The terrace is open from May to October.
MET in New York: should you visit all the museum rooms?
As you could see at the beginning of this article, the MET in New York has a very large area. So I do not advise you to visit the whole museum because it would take you several days. So I recommend that you choose in advance what you want to see.
For my part, I advise you to start your visit byegyptian art (located on the first floor of the MET, room 100 - 138). Sculptures, mummies or even parts of Egyptian temples make this place magnificent. On the other side, theroman and greek art (rooms 150 - 172) is also amazing.
Continue your visit in rooms 600 - 632 (located on the second floor) where you can discover works by Hobbema, Van Ruysdael or Rembrandt dating from the Golden Age. Then, I recommend that you go to rooms 800 - 830 where works by great artists such as Matisse, Degas or Van Gogh will amaze you. Continue your way with room 917 to admire themodern and contemporary art in all its glory.
The guided tour of the MET
If you don't feel like visiting the MET in the midst of the crowds, I advise you to take the guided tour of the museum, titled, EmptyMet. During this one, a guide will make you discover all the strong points of the place. This tour takes place early in the morning.
What is the entrance fee to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The price of the MET is 25$ for adults, 17$ for people aged 65 and over, 12$ for students. The entrance is free for children under 12. This entrance fee also includes the entrance fee for The Cloisters.
Your entrance ticket can be purchased directly online. To avoid long lines, also consider getting a skip-the-line ticket. The latter will save you precious time.
However, I strongly advise you to get the New York City Pass, which includes admission to the MET as well as many other must-see tourist attractions on a trip to New York City. All while offering a 42% reduction! To get it, go to the official City Pass website, by clicking here. The latter will also allow you to access the museum without waiting a long time at the entrance since it also serves as a fast-track.
In addition to saving you considerable time, this City Pass will allow you to make some significant savings! If you want to know more about the New York City Pass, I invite you to read my dedicated article.
Can we visit the MET for free?
The MET does not display a mandatory price to be paid at the entrance. To tell the truth, this museum is based on a system of " pay as you want“, In other words you can donate the amount of money you want. On the other hand, the prices quoted above are those recommended.
Tips for a successful visit
When entering the museum, do not hesitate to ask for the " Today’s event“, In other words the program of the day. You will be able to know everything about the temporary exhibitions and the various events of the museum.
Also, don't forget to request a general plan of the MET. The latter will help you to find your bearings better. The map is available at the entrance to the museum and is translated into several languages.
Finally, if you are afraid of missing an essential thing of the museum, let yourself be guided by the audioguides in French ($ 7 for adults and $ 5 for children under 12) and podcasts downloadable to an MP3 player.
Some additional information about the MET
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open everyday 10 a.m. to 17 p.m. except Friday and Saturday, when it is open from 30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The MET is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and the 1st Monday in May.
Inside the museum, you can keep your water bottle and you can also take some photos (without flash) if you wish.
During your visit, your bags should be left in the cloakroom.
Finally, the MET is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs are available in the cloakroom.
How to get to the MET?
To get to the MET, you will need to take subway lines 1 or 6 to 86th Street Station. The exact address of the MET is: 1000 Fifth Avenue (corner 82nd Street) New York, New York 10028.
To help you locate yourself, here is a map:
And here. You now have all the keys in hand for a visit rich in discoveries to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Don't forget your camera! Good visit !