New York, although known for its dazzling skyscrapers, bustling squares, and historic monuments, is in no short of museums. In fact, the city boasts some of the most prominent and largest museums in the country, which include the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) and the Museum of Natural History. These two museums with their gigantic collections of art and artifacts stand as one amongst the most notable exhibition spaces in the world. The two museums are so popular that a visit to New York almost seems incomplete without visiting them.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History are notable for their extensive collections. The two museums are treasure houses of vast collections of art and natural history that literally takes the viewer on a journey back in time. This sheer expansive collection of art and artifacts of the two museums is surely a delight to the visitors and history lovers as it offers a glimpse into the past and of the timeless works of art.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Met is the largest art museums in the country. It houses an incredible collection of more than two million artworks from several millennia. It has played a prominent role in the preservation and propagation of art among the public and counts among the top museums in the world. With an annual visitor turnout of 7 million visitors, the Met is the second most visited museum in the world.
As expansive as its two million collections is the building of the Metropolitan Museum of Art itself. The design features the Gothic Revival style designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. The Met consists of two million square feet of gallery space and is about 400 meters long. Since it was moved to Central Park, the museum has undergone expansion with numerous additions such as the Grand Stairway and the glass sides located at the rear.
The vast collection of more than two million artworks is divided into 22 curatorial departments inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Greek and Roman antiquities are one prominent section that houses an extensive collection of both Green and Roman art. One of the first items obtained for the museum, a Roman sarcophagus is still on display along with several other valuable works such as the Boscoreale frescoes, Kouros, and many others. Several Egyptian antiquities are also displayed such as the Temple of Dendur along with numerous other artifacts.
Occupying the most part of the collections and the exhibiting space inside the museum is European art located on the first floor. It consists of artworks, sculptures, decorative arts, and arms and armor. The works of several European masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Raphael are displayed here. Apart from that, the other floors of the museum cover a diverse collection of artworks from America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The museum also contains many other galleries that display Cypriot art, Ancient Near Eastern art, prints, photographs, costumes, etc.
Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History is another important museum in the country. Standing one amongst the largest museums in the world, the Museum of Natural History is a must-visit place considering its large valuable collections of the past. Besides being a museum, it is an important center of research and education in natural sciences, and this is why it attracts scholars from all around the world. With around 5 million visitors annually, the Museum of Natural History is another most visited museum in the world.
The aristocracy of New York founded the museum in 1869 to add to the prestige of the city and at the same time educate the masses. Since its opening, the museum has played a dominant role in promoting the education of natural sciences and making available the information through the latest technologies. It has a range of collections including dinosaur fossils to a planetarium that makes it a storehouse of information.
The Fossil Hall is the most popular and important area inside the Museum of Natural History. It contains the world’s largest collection of vertebrate fossil amounting to one million. The museum has one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils the popular ones being the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Apatosaurus. The Mammal Halls contains a fascinating collection of mammals from the different continent and extinct ones. The other prominent one is the Hall of Human Origins that details the history of humanity.
There are several other sections in the museum too, such as the Cultural Hall, Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians, Biodiversity and Environmental Hall, Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals, and the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites. Moreover, inside the museum is the Ross Center for Earth and Space, which contains the Hayden Planetarium that offers a spectacular viewing experience via its cutting-edge projection system and 67-foot wide hemispheric dome.
The Museum of Natural History also has a huge library consisting of about 485,000 volumes as well as photographs, films, and manuscript collections. Besides, the museum also conducts numerous temporary exhibitions, family events, workshops, live performances, etc. It has a food court and two cafes too, along with shops that sell books, jewelry, posters, gifts, and apparels.