The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most well-known museums in the world. Located in New York City, this beloved museum houses artifacts chronicling human civilization from the Greeks to the Romans to the Egyptians and beyond. Visitors to the museum are enthralled by ancient relics and famous works of art. They might also be interested to know that the Met has kept many secrets over the past decades, largely centered around the museum’s location and the actual buildings that compromise the Met.
The Met has not always been at its present location on 5th Avenue in Central Park. Initially, there were several temporary locations, including a brownstone at 681 5th Avenue. In 1880, the Met opened at its present-day location on 5th Avenue and 82nd Street. Although this is a bustling portion of the city now, it was farmland in 1880, complete with unpaved streets. The construction was not without controversy, as some people did not want public buildings in Central Park. An exception was made for the Met because its location meant that it would not be seen from any other sites in the Park.
The Met is a conglomeration of buildings, extensions, and wings. As renovations and restorations have occurred over the years, many interesting architectural features have become apparent. The original building is the Medieval Hall (Gallery 305), which is presently located in the center of the Met. Extensions and wings have been built off the Medieval Hall since its completion in 1880. Because of these extensions, there are now many “half-floors” in the Museum, created when different architects built different floor heights. Half-floors are most evident in the Asian Art and Ancient Near Eastern Art wings, where staircases and ramps have been fitted to accommodate the differing floor heights. Finally, it is interesting to note that the well-known 5th Avenue façade of the Met was never completed. While the designs were completed, funds ran out before the uncarved stone atop the four columns could be sculpted into a final creation.
People from all over the world enjoy visiting the Met. It is full of treasures from antiquity that give us a glimpse of what civilization was once like. It is constantly changing, and more secrets are sure to reveal themselves in the future!