With more than two million works of art spanning thousands of years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most expansive and prolific art museums in the world and it should be on everyone's New York to-do list.
The origin of the museum can be traced back to Paris, where in 1866, the diplomat and prominent lawyer John Jay suggested to a group of American businessmen that there should be a national museum in America similar to those in Europe. Back at home they created a commission, led by William Cullen Bryant, that laid the foundations of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The new museum opened in 1870 at a temporary location on Fifth Avenue. A collection owned by railroad tycoon John Taylor Johnston seeded the museum, which quickly outgrew its original premise.
Just a year after it opened, the museum found it necessary to move to the Douglas Mansion on 14th Street but also outgrew that location within just a short period of time. Those responsible for the museum soon acquired a plot of land on the east side of Central Park, where the museum still stands today.