New York City Guide

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Metropolitan Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue between 80th and 84th Streets, and is easily accessible by public transport via the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines, and hosts the most comprehensive collection of art in the United States. It was founded in 1870, and the present building in Central Park was opened in 1880. Popularly known as “The Met” the museum is a private institution, although the  building itself is owned and maintained by the city of New York. The museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and is visited by more than five million people each year. It is also a major educational institution, offering a wide range of programs for both adults and children.

The original Metropolitan Museum of Art was a gothic style building constructed from brick, and was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. When opened in 1890 the design was met with some derision by many critics who thought the City's great art museum should be more of an imposing architectural statement. Over the subsequent years, the Museum has expanded with the introduction of new wings and added floors.  As the building expanded, the original structure was literally covered up, although visitors can still view an original part of the brick walling which has been left exposed in the Lehman Wing. Today the museum covers an area amounting to over 13 acres.

Metropolitan Museum 2For the first time visitor, a good way to see some of the museums many treasures is to take a Museum Highlights tour. These tours are given by trained volunteers and are free with your admission contribution. Details of the tours can be found at the Information Desk as you enter the building. Another way that you can make your visit to this enormous museum more manageable is to see just a few of the museum galleries or special exhibitions each time you visit. There is a wide choice of exhibitions, including, American decorative arts, which includes a large collection of furniture, ceramics and textiles ranging from the 17th to the early 20th century. A display of American Paintings and Sculptures. Ancient Near Eastern Art. Arms and Armour from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, plus works of art from all over the world. The museum also houses some of the worlds greatest masterpieces within its Medieval and Modern Art collections. Also very popular are the collections of musical instruments and photographs.

The busiest time for visitors is Sunday afternoons so this is best avoided if possible. A good time to visit the museum is on Friday and Saturday evenings between 5 and 8:45 p.m. as during this time, in the Great Hall, a classical quintet performs. While listening to the music you could take the opportunity to enjoy a drink at the Great Balcony Bar.

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