I often tell people, there is no greater museum city in the world than Washington, DC and having done a lot of traveling, I am pretty sure of what I say. But my favorite art museum? It has to be the Met.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is more than a wonderful building with a great art collection. Its a home for art; a terrific place to view art in a building that is a work of art in iteself. And the Met knows how to introduce itself to a new visitor. Walk into the Great Hall and you are overwhelmed by light and flowers. Thanks to the gift of a generous donor, the Metropolitan Museum is always covered in flowers, with dramatic flower arrangements that rival anything I have ever seen near the grand staircase. Its very hard to step into the Met and not smile.
The Met is huge and growing. In the twenty years that I lived in New York I visited thousands of times. And yet, every time I went there was something new to see, whether it was old Christian paintings, musical instruments, the Egypitian collection or a new exhibition of a visiting impressionist show. But seeing things for the first time is not what the Met is about, and that is the secret to its success.
Each section of the Met tells a story. If you walk through its galleries again and again, old favorites will call to you. The rooms are large, the floors, except for the special areas with stone floors, are fairly easy on the legs. Ceilings are high and rooms, unless intentionally darkened often have a lot of natural light. There is almost always a place to sit.
The permanent collection itself is amazing. You can see impressionists or Rembrandt's. The guards are unobtrusive, but there.
My only complaint about the Met is its success. There was a time that one could wander through the Met almost alone, on a weekday. I assume that that may still be possible when visiting the less successful collections, but for the most part the Met is a well used museum and you are almost always part of a crowd.
Entry to the Met requires a donation, not a fee and families on a tight budget should NOT rule out the Met because of the cost. Visitors are asked to pay a certain amount, to support the museum but those who cannot afford that amount may state the amount they are willing to pay. This can be a tough thing to admit, and that's exactly the way its supposed to work. However if you have three children and two adults and do not have the money, you absolutely SHOULD tell the ticket taker the amount you can pay per child and adult and pay that. Savvy New Yorkers are well aware of this and its very common to see someone come in an hour before closing and say "I will just be here for half an hour so I am going to pay ___."
If you live in or near NYC an individual or family membership is a good way to support the museum, without the embarrassment. Many, many employers in the NYC area provide corporate memberships and visitors with those memberships are rung up without a discussion. If you work for a large corporation a corporate Met membership is a nice thing to suggest.
If you don't live near the Met, and won't be going to the museum anytime soon, go online. The Met realized the power of the internet early on, and you can see a lot from your computer at http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, known colloquially as The Met, is an art museum located on the eastern edge of Central Park, along what is known as Museum Mile in New York City, USA. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works of art, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, often referred to simply as "the Met", is one of the world's largest art galleries; there is also a much smaller second location in Upper Manhattan, at "The Cloisters", which features medieval art.
Represented in the permanent collection are works of art from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met also maintains extensive holdings of African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine, and Islamic art. The museum is also home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, and antique weapons and armor from around the world. A number of notable interiors, ranging from 1st century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met's galleries.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens. The founders included businessmen and financiers, as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day, who wanted to open a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. It opened on February 20, 1872, and was originally ...