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An Overview of the Museum

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world's largest and finest art museums. Its collection spans 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe.

Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum is located in New York City's Central Park along Fifth Avenue (from 80th to 84th Streets). Last year it was visited by 4.7 million people.

Collection and Galleries
The Museum's two-million-square-foot building has vast holdings that represent a series of collections, each of which ranks in its category among the finest in the world. The American Wing, for example, houses the world's most comprehensive collection of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, presently including 24 period rooms that offer an unparalleled view of American history and domestic life. The Museum's approximately 2,500 European paintings form one of the greatest such collections in the world—Rembrandts and Vermeers alone are among the choicest, not to mention the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist canvases. Virtually all of the 36,000 objects constituting the greatest collection of Egyptian art outside Cairo are on display, while the Islamic art collection is one of the world's finest.

Other major collections belonging to the Museum include arms and armor, Asian art, costumes, European sculpture and decorative arts, medieval and Renaissance art, musical instruments, drawings, prints, antiquities from around the ancient world, photography, and modern and contemporary art. More than a million objects are on view from every corner of the world.

Major galleries that in recent years have either been newly created or have undergone renovation and reinstallation include: the Greek and Roman Galleries, Galleries for Oceanic Art and the Gallery for Native North American Art, Galleries for 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture including the new Henry J. Heinz II Galleries, Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography, Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries for Byzantine Art and the Medieval Europe Gallery, Late Gothic Hall at The Cloisters, and the André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments. Major renovations now underway include the Galleries for the Arts of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, scheduled for completion in late 2011, and The American Wing, the final phase of which (the paintings galleries) is scheduled to reopen in early 2012.

Exhibitions
The Metropolitan Museum presents more exhibitions than any art museum in the world. The more than 30 exhibitions each year represent a wide range of artists, eras, and cultures. Some of the best-known of these have been Treasures of Tutankhamun (1978), The Great Bronze Age of China (1980), The Horses of San Marco (1980), The Vatican Collections (1983), Manet, 1832-1883 (1983), Van Gogh in Arles (1984), India! (1985-86), Degas (1989-90), Velázquez (1989-90), Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries (1990-91), Seurat (1991-92), Origins of Impressionism (1994-95), Goya in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995), Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt (1995-96), Splendors of Imperial China (1996), The Glory of Byzantium (1997), From Van Eyck to Breugel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1998-99), Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids (1999-2000), The Year One (2001), Vermeer and the Delft School (2001), Tapestry in the Renaissance (2002), Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman (2003), Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting (2003), Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings (2005), The Age of Rembrandt (2007-2008), and Vermeer's Masterpiece, The Milkmaid (2009).

Educational Events and Programs
Families and children of all ages have fun while they are learning about art in a wide variety of programs and events scheduled daily in the Museum's galleries and classrooms. These programs include workshops, tours, lectures, film showings, and more. Many programs are designed to accompany temporary special exhibitions.

Governance
For more than a century the City of New York and the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art have been partners in bringing the Museum's services to the public. The complex of buildings in Central Park is the property of the City, and the City provides for the Museum's heat, light, and power. The City also pays for approximately one-third the costs of maintenance and security for the facility and its collection. The collection itself is held in trust by the Trustees. The Trustees, in turn, are responsible for meeting all expenses connected with conservation, education, special exhibitions, acquisitions, scholarly publications, and related activities, including security costs not covered by the City. In addition, the State of New York provides valuable support through the New York State Council on the Arts.

April 2010

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