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.
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.
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!
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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