As one of the most diverse and incredible art museums in the United States, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must see for any art lover visiting the Big Apple. Even if you aren't an art aficionado, you're bound to be intrigued by many of the exhibits offered for public viewing.
The museum itself spans several city blocks and is fondly referred to as "The Met" by those who have become intimately familiar with this showcase of some of the most incredible art you'll ever see. If you happen to be spending some time in New York City, visiting the Met is well worth a few hours.
The only problem with scheduling a few hours for the Met is that it won't nearly be long enough to truly cover all the exhibits the museum has to offer; you will find yourself having to pick and choose which areas of the museum you want to cover most.
Ancient Greece and Egypt
When you enter the Metropolitan Museum of Art you will quickly notice the multitude of choices you'll have of exhibits to explore. The museum is not only comprised of traditional paintings and pottery, it truly encompasses a full spectrum of diverse arts.
One of the first exhibits you're likely to stumble across is ancient Greece and Egypt. Seeing these timeless and old Greek statues is amazing. The artistic detail is incredible, and it is astonishing to think about how old these pieces are, literally thousands of years. For me, to stand beneath them, I am practically bowled over in awe of their beauty and ability to survive so many years.
The Met's ancient Egypt exhibit is another favorite of mine. One of the key exhibits to see is an authentic Egyptian temple that was dismantled. The Temple of Dendur was shipped to the United States and pieced back together. The temple stands in a large room which contains a wall of skylights which helps augment the beauty and wonder of the structure. Additionally, the engravings etched on the walls of the temple are still intact and legible.
After you explore the temple, you can walk through all of the other Egyptian exhibits which contain artifacts, pottery, coins, metalwork and other kinds of items which existed during this era. Some of the pieces are fully intact, others are fragmented, but when you consider how long these pieces have survived, it is amazing they are even still in existence and still so beautiful.
Another interesting part of the Egyptian exhibit is the mummy cases which are still dazzling with detail and color. The hieroglyphics suspend belief that these items have lasted so long and illustrate how innovative the Egyptians were. One of the glass showcases even houses a mummy and you can see the careful detail that was placed in wrapping the cloth around the body. In my opinion, you can easily spend an entire day just in Greece and Egypt alone.
However, these exhibits only scratch the surface of everything else there is to see at the Met.
There are several floors of exhibits. If you love traditional drawing, you won't be disappointed because there is a drawings, print and photographs section housed in the museum (when I last visited, this was on the second floor).
There are literally dozens upon dozens of rooms housing traditional canvas and paint artwork. These rooms are basically grouped into cultural and period ears, and there are even some rooms which are dedicated to specific artists to showcase their pieces. You'll discover that some of the exhibits are temporary, and if there is something you want to catch it is a good idea to keep an eye on the event calendar to make sure you don't miss it.
You can explore everything from American, Korean, African, Chinese, Far East, European, Islamic, Japanese, Greek and Roman art, to name a few. In addition, you can explore over the different art periods ranging from ancient, contemporary to modern and pretty much everything in between.
Medieval Armor and Weapons
Another neat exhibit is the medieval armor and weapons section. In my opinion, this is worth taking a gander through. The precise detail that was crafted in these pieces is beautiful. This is another large exhibit which you can easily spend an ample amount of time in. The kids seem to love this one too, especially since a lot of the armor almost looks kid-sized due to the changes in human stature over the centuries.
If you have a favorite style, you will probably find it at the Met. Even if you aren't inclined to be attracted to any specific kind of artistic style, most people I've talked with found there is something to be amazed by in the numerous displays and diversity that showcases the cultural artistic beauty society has created over the generations. It is also interesting to see how art evolved throughout different regions and time periods.
During your visit if you need a break, the museum does house a cafeteria on the lower floor and a few other eateries throughout the museum. This is especially helpful if you have children with you and need to divert their attention and let them relax for a while.
The museum is open 7 days a week year-round. Exceptions are when it is closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and the first Monday in May.
If you are in the Big Apple and have some time and are looking for a good place to go, the Met will not disappoint you; it is one of my recommended places to visit if spending time in New York City. There are enough exhibits of interests to capture the attention for visitors of all ages. Even if you aren't attracted to art, the historical and social aspects that are augmented in each exhibit are worth the experience.