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Researching Metropolitan Museum History

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art was originally founded in 1870 in a charter that called for a “museum and library of art”*  Today, the Museum includes the main building on Fifth Avenue, as well as two satellite museums: The Cloisters, which displays art from Medieval Europe, and the newly opened Met Breuer, which highlights modern and contemporary art.

For a brief overview of the history of The Met, including the The Cloisters and the Met Breuer, begin your research on the Museum's website:​

Press releases, news and announcements dating from 1991 to the present can be found here: 

For additional information, review the resources on the other tabs in this guide.

*New York (State), 'An act to incorporate 'The Metropolitan Museum of Art,' passed April 13th, 1870," Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1870.

Searching Watsonline Using Subject Headings

Throughout this guide, you will notice boxes labeled "Suggested Searches: Find Other Resources in Watsonline."  The links within these boxes will help you do conduct searches of the library's holdings using subject headings.

What’s the difference between keyword and subject searching?  When you search by keyword, you are searching the whole catalogue entry for the book—so if the word you are searching appears in the author, title, or any part of the description, that book will appear in your results list.  Subject headings are assigned to each book by library staff to make it easier to find books that are related.  This is a great way to find books on your specific subject, but it’s important that you use the correct formatting for the subject heading—otherwise you will not get any results.  This is why we recommend that you start by searching broadly with keywords, and then find specific subject headings that relate to your topic.


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