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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York City's Famous Met Museum

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The World Famous Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (or The Met as its known to most New Yorkers) is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world. The Met boasts a collection of nearly three million objects from every known artistic medium, and from nearly every culture and era.

More than five million people visit the museum each year, making it one of New York’s most popular attractions (check out our Met Visitor Information page if you’re planning a trip).

The History of the Met

The seeds for the Metropolitan were planted on July 4, 1866. John Jay, a prominent New York lawyer and the grandson of founding father John Jay (aka The Original J), gave a speech proposing that he and his compatriots create a “national institution and gallery of art.” During the next four years, American civic leaders, art collectors, and philanthropists came to support the project. In 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was incorporated.

The Met’s first address was at 681 Fifth Avenue, later moving to 128 West 14th Street. In 1880, the museum moved to its present location in Central Park on Fifth Avenue between 80th and 84th Streets.

Running the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has approximately 1,800 full-time employees and 900 volunteers. It is operated through a partnership between the City and the museum’s trustees. The City owns the museum’s buildings in Central Park and provides the heat, light, and power. The City also pays for nearly 50% of the museum’s cost of maintenance and security.

The art itself is held in a special trust operated by the trustees. The trustees are also responsible for meeting all expenses connected with conservation, acquisitions, education, special exhibits and related activities, including special security costs not covered by the City. The museum also receives an annual grant (from the New York State Council on the Arts) that goes toward covering basic operating expenses.

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