Attendance at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s acclaimed New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia topped the one-million mark on January 18, 2013.
In the 14 months since their grand reopening on November 1, 2011, the galleries have attracted an average of 2,550 people per day. This number represents approximately 14% of the total attendance in the Metropolitan’s main building during the same time period.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, commented: “In its role as a global museum, the Met strives to present the very best examples of art from all cultures and all periods of history. From May 2003, the Museum worked on the reinstallation of its galleries for the art of the Islamic world, aware of the meaning and power of these collections in our modern world. Since these galleries reopened in their new configuration just over a year ago, we have been truly gratified by the exceptional interest that our visitors—both local and international—have taken in this newly conceived presentation of Islamic art.”
More than 1,200 works from the renowned collection of the Museum’s Department of Islamic Art—one of the most comprehensive gatherings of this material in the world—are on view in the completely renovated, expanded, and reinstalled suite of 15 galleries, a project that took eight years to complete. The organization of the galleries by geographical area emphasizes the rich diversity of the Islamic world, over a span of 1,300 years, by underscoring the many distinct cultures within the fold.
The new galleries are featured on the Museum’s website (http://blog.metmuseum.org/newgalleries2011/en/).
To celebrate the milestone moment, a catalogue of the collections was presented to the one-millionth visitor in the galleries by Sheila Canby, the Patti Cadby Birch Curator in Charge of the Department of Islamic Art, and Navina Najat Haidar, Curator and Coordinator of the new galleries. The ceremony took place in the Patti Cadby Birch Court, a space that was inspired by Moroccan late medieval design and built by artisans from Fez. Flowers were scattered in a fountain in the Court, and musicians played Arabic music.