History of the Department
Although the Museum acquired some seals and jewelry from Islamic countries as early as 1874, and a number of Turkish textiles in 1879, it received its first major group of Islamic objects in 1891, as a bequest of Edward C. Moore. Since then, the collection has grown through gifts, bequests, and purchases, as well as through Museum-sponsored excavations at Nishapur, Iran, in 1935–39 and in 1947. Until 1932, when the Department of Near Eastern Art was established, all of these objects were overseen by the Department of Decorative Arts. By 1963, the number of objects had increased to a point that necessitated an official departmental division between the ancient Near Eastern and the Islamic portions of the collection, and the Department of Islamic Art was founded.
Renovation and Reinstallation
On November 1, 2011, the Museum reopened its fifteen galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, after an eight-year project in which the galleries were renovated and reorganized in accordance with current thinking in the field and with modern museological practices. The galleries had last been renovated and reinstalled in 1975.