Meet the Met in 3D

The museum as an artwork in its own right

By Google Arts & Culture

Colloquially known as ‘The Met’, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been welcoming visitors since it first opened its doors in 1872. The largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere, its permanent collection contains over two million works including pieces from Ancient Egypt, Byzantium, Asia, Africa, Greece, Rome and the Islamic World.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art started out life with a single Roman sarcophagus and 174 paintings to display. The collection quickly expanded and with it, the museum itself. Over the years, more wings, galleries and halls have been added to accommodate the growing exhibition. Today, the building is made up of around 20 individual structures, each with this own unique story and identity.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art


The original museum was designed by American architect Calvert Vaux and his collaborator Jacob Wrey Mould. However, the High Victorian Gothic structure they built was considered dated before it was even complete and those behind the project considered it a mistake from the start. 

Within 20 years, the original building had been completely engulfed in a new structure. By 1902, a new Beaux-Arts façade had been added to the main Fifth Avenue entrance. This addition, along with the Great Hall and Grand Stairway, was designed by architect and Met trustee Richard Morris Hunt, but completed by his son, Richard Howland Hunt after the former’s death. 

The wings of the museum were designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White and completed in 1910.

Kevin Roche

One of the most influential figures in the development of The Met was Kevin Roche. An Irish-born American Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Roche created a new master plan for the expansion of the museum in 1967. This plan included the construction of a number of new wings and the installation of their exhibitions. Two of the most prominent new areas created by Roche were the American and Islamic Wings.

Roche also worked on the construction of a number of new galleries, including the one that now holds the Egyptian Temple of Dendur. The temple, which dates from around 15BC, was commissioned by the Emperor Augustus and dedicated to the gods Isis and Osiris. 

The temple was gifted the the United States by Egypt in 1965. The beautiful layout and design of its new home allows visitors to truly appreciate its craftsmanship and get a unique glimpse into Egyptian culture.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Roof Garden

The Met’s roof garden is one of its most popular areas. Every year since 1998, the roof garden has hosted a single-artist exhibition. Artists to have had their work shown in this open-air space include Roy Lichtenstein, Joel Shapiro, Andy Goldsworthy and Jeff Koons. As well as being a fantastic exhibition space, the roof garden offers sweeping views over Manhattan and Central Park.  

Parapivot Installation Photography (June 2019) by Alicja KwadeThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

Learn more about The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and its exhibitions, here

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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