The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City, is the largest art museum in the United States.
It is one of the ten largest in the world, with the most significant art collections. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan’s Museum Mile, is by area one of the world’s largest art galleries. There is also a much smaller second location at “The Cloisters” in Upper Manhattan that 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. Several 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 located at 681 Fifth Avenue. As of 2012, the Met occupies about 2,000,000 square feet.