One of the main things we wanted to do during our stay in New York City was a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Aside from the fact that Blair Waldorf used to eat her lunch here, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the worlds largest art museums. It presents over 5,000 years of art spanning all cultures and time periods. First opened in 1872, it now has a permanent collection of over two million works.

Great for a Budget

The entrance fee to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is recommended $22, however you can pay as much or as little as you like. Honestly, if I was brave enough I would have just paid $0 because NYC is super expensive already. But alas, I was too shy to go up to the desk and say  “Actually I’d rather pay nothing, thanks”. I ended up paying $10, which still stung a bit coming from Glasgow where all the museums are free.

Tip: If you pay at the machines you HAVE to pay $22, so if you want to pay less, go to the counter. They actually ask you “How much would you like to pay?” so don’t whimp out like me if you don’t want to pay anything.

The good thing about this is that it takes a whole day, if not longer, to walk around the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This means you get to spend a whole day in NYC for free. Result!

Greek and Roman Art

The MET’s Greek and Roman Art collection consists of more than 17,000 pieces, concentrating on Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. The first object the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired was a Roman sarcophagus and is still currently on display.

I personally have a specific interest in Ancient Greece, but more so the mythical side, rather than the historical side. Luckily for me, there was many a Hercules on display at the MET so I was in my element.

Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Though the Metropolitan Museum of Art first acquired a group of Peruvian antiquities in 1882, the museum did not focus its efforts to collect works from Africa, Oceania and the Americas until 1969, when someone donated a collection of over 3,000 pieces. Their collection now consists of over 11,000 pieces.

I’m not going to lie, I knew next to nothing about the history of Oceania, so that section of the museum was all new to me and a tad overwhelming. At least with the Ancient Greek stuff, I knew bits and bobs, but here I felt it was information overload. Obviously, that was of my own doing, and is not to say that it wasn’t interesting. But it was also like 9am, so my brain could only handle so much!

Modern and Contemporary Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses 13,000 Modern and Contemporary artworks, from artists such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Jasper John to name a few. I have a fair appreciation for art, but standing infront of a genuine Picasso affected me much more than I expected. I wandered around the gallery for quite a while, snapping some of my favourite peices.

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European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

The European Sculpture and Decorative Arts section is the largest department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, holding over 50,000 pieces dating from the 15th century to the early 20th centuries. Though the collection is mainly focused on sculptures and individual pieces, you can also walk through fully furnished period rooms. One minute you’re walking through a courtyard of Greek sculptures and the next you’re thrown back in time a couple of hundred years. Also in contrast to the other departments, is the colours. So many colours.

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The American Wing

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American art collection was returned to view in 2012 in a new installation. Here you can see the history of American art from the 18th century to the early 20th century. At this point, we had been walking around for four and a half hours. That’s not even covering the entire first floor. I can only speak for myself, but my stomach was starting to control my brain. All I can say is I’m glad I have pictures of The American Wing, because I have very little memory of it!

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So there you have it. That’s as far as we got. I would say almost 5 hours is long enough to spend in a museum. Sure, we could have fueled up in the museums cafe and powered on, but the sun was out, and Central Park was right there! We had a very busy last day in the city, as well as a show at night before heading off for Boston the next morning. According to the pedometer on my phone, we managed 24,957 steps! One day I’ll make it back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and explore the 2nd and 3rd floors!

Have you ever been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art? What was you favourite department?

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31 thoughts on “Metropolitan Museum of Art: First Floor Photo Tour”

  1. Thanks for the tip about paying the entrance fee at the counter and at the machine! The museum looks amazing, especially the artifacts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Definitely a good place to spend a day in NY!

  2. This looks like an amazing museum. I haven’t been but can’t wait to go now. I’m a huge contemporary/modern art fan and it looks like they have a pretty big section of it along with other exhibits.

  3. Was just there on Saturday. I paid $1.00 for me and my daughter. I’m one of those people who refuse to pay. Washington D.C. museums are free too, so I refuse to pay the “full” price. I’ve been coming here for years and actually only just discovered a new wing.

  4. This has been on my bucket list too. I love visiting state musuems and when we did paris, we didn; t have time to do the louvres. I always keep at least 1 whole day for such a marvelouse museum. I think o if you reealy appreciate a museum you wouldn’t mind paying something right? I mean I have not seen a museum where you just pay 1 dollar… You pay for books too and documentary videos and if you value it, it will have a price.

  5. Good to know you can pay what you want! Sounds absolutely amazing, I’m a massive ancient Greek/Roman nut so I know what section I would be stuck in haha.
    All of that, and that’s only the first floor?? MIND = BLOWN

  6. For someone like me who’s not an art museum lover, your tip about the entrance fee is great. I would certainly go there coz it’s so famous and all but would not want to spend more than 2 hours here and paying $22 for that won’t be worth it. Thanks.

  7. I am not huge into art, I must admit, but it looks like there is something here for everyone. I definitely would’ve also felt awkward going up to the counter and saying $0 when asked how much I wanted to pay. When you said $10, were they nice about it or did you feel secretly judged for not paying the “full price” of $22?

    Also, if you haven’t been to Washington DC yet, you should go! Most of the museums there are free, just like in Glasgow 🙂

  8. I’m planning a trip to NYC to visit a friend at Colombia in September. I can’t wait! I honestly had no idea about the “choose your own price” scheme at the museum, good to know. Not sure I’d be brave enough to just go for free though.

  9. I’ve been to NYC three times bit never ventured to the MET! I have a degree in Ancient History so I think I will pay a visit this December. How long did it take to walk round the Greek and Roman section?

  10. I might need a couple days together to explore MET museum! I took 2 days to explore V&A Museum and National Gallery each in London. MET would take minimum 3 days for me I guess! My friend recently went and could’t stop raving about it! I’m yet to explore the American continent! Hope I’ll get a chance!

  11. This museum in a lot of ways reminds me of the Vatican museum. No doubt that the Roman and Greek sections are amazing but I am particularly intrigued by the Peruvian one. It seems unusual and nice and I can see plenty of unique things there too. Thanks for sharing this gem,

  12. Wow, 5 hours in a museum in one stint, you deserve an award! Seriously, thanks for all your time and effort that’s allowed me to read about the highlights in your blog in just 5 minutes. I really got a taste of everything MET has to offer and it’s put it on my radar for the next time I’m in NYC.

  13. Oh I didn’t know you could choose the amount you wanted to pay. I paid full price when I visited and I also got an audio tour. I agree. MET is a great place to visit when in NYC. So much to see. We spent the entire night touring the Egyptian section which was amazing! I need to go back to see the others. Lovely photos! ❤️

  14. I have been to The Met so many times (though probably not enough considering I lived in the city for 6 years but still) and I honestly don’t think I’ve seen everything I usually poke through the same sections and pop by the new exhibits haha. 5 hours there is admirable! Also while i’ve never not paid because I like to put my money to places I like I always just hand them a $5 and call it a day, you can also go to the cloisters in upper manhattan on the same ticket too even on a different day 😉

  15. This is such a thorough guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – sadly a place I never got to visit on my trip which means I’ll have to go back to NYC. I think the concept of pay what you think is interesting, as invariably most people will be too scared to pay nothing so they’ll end up on top. But I guess if they put some of that money into restoring art pieces for the museum, I don’t mind too much! $22 is a lot though (I’m from London and most of our museums are free too!)

  16. I think I would have gone for $0 I think at the entrance! There is plenty to see in the Metropolitan museum, I understand how you got so many steps in one day. I think my record was 37k steps when I walked around Minsk. It’s good exercise when traveling!

  17. Greek and African arts and pieces are becoming an integral part of all the museums worldwide. The collection in this museum is also wonderful. Reminded me of my own trip to Louvre from a few months back

  18. Wowee, lots of memories here Chiera of one of my favourite museums in the world. I get a bit of museum fatigue after a while so I love how you can just duck into the Met and take in a few rooms at a time. Thanks for joining #FarawayFiles

  19. You saw a TON in 5 hours! Even as an Art History Major, I can only spend so much time in a museum and tend to stick to certain areas of focus and spend a little more time there. I am also very moved by standing in front of a famous master’s work. I’ve not been to the Met – but will be in NYC in October – maybe it’s time to change that! Thanks for the inspiration – cheers from Copenhagen, Erin #FarawayFiles

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