Most comprehensive collection of art in the U.S. and one of the foremost in the world. It was incorporated in New York City in 1870, and the present building in Central Park on Fifth Avenue was opened in 1880. The Metropolitan was built with the private fortunes of businessmen; today it is owned by the city but supported mainly by private endowment. Its outstanding Egyptian, Mesopotamian, East Asian, Middle Eastern, Greek and Roman, European, pre-Columbian, and U.S. collections include—in addition to paintings, sculpture, and graphic arts—architecture, glass, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, furniture, arms and armour, and musical instruments. It also incorporates a Costume Institute and the Thomas J. Watson Library, one of the world's greatest art and archaeology reference collections. Much of the medieval collection is housed at The Cloisters in Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park; its building (1938) incorporates parts of medieval monasteries and churches.
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