Founded in 1870 by members of New York’s Union League Club, the Metropolitan Museum of Art moved into a building designed by Calvert Vaux (who, with Frederick Law Olmsted, designed Central Park) in 1880. The southwest wing and façade were built in 1888. The Fifth Avenue side wings were completed in 1906. Sculptural decoration has never been finished.
One of the museum’s most important benefactors was J.P. Morgan, who as president (1904-13) continued to expand the collections and the building. In 1929 the museum acquired an outstanding collection of French impressionist paintings from Louisine Havermyer.
Today, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest and most comprehensive art museum in the western hemisphere. It houses more than three million works of art, hundreds of them famous masterpieces, ranging from ancient to modern. Its collection of Egyptian art is second only to the one in Cairo.
Departments include: the American Decorative Arts, American Paintings and Sculpture, Ancient Near Eastern Art, Arms and Armor, Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Asian Art, The Cloisters, The Costume Institute, Drawings and Prints, Egyptian Art, European Paintings, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Greek and Roman Art, Islamic Art, The Robert Lehman Collection, The Libraries, Medieval Art, Modern Art, Musical Instruments, Photographs, and Antonio Ratti Textile Center.
In addition to the Metropolitan Museum’s collection, visitors can enjoy special exhibitions, gallery talks, lectures, and other educational programs offered daily at the museum.
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