Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced that the Museum welcomed a record number of visitors—6.7 million—during the fiscal year that ended on June 30 (FY16). This is the highest number of visitors since The Met began tracking admission statistics more than 40 years ago. The total includes attendance at all three of the Museum’s locations—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Cloisters, and the new Met Breuer, which was launched in March to present modern and contemporary art-themed programming.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. Since it was founded in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.
Visitorship to The Met has now exceeded six million for the fifth consecutive year. The FY16 number was 400,000 higher than that of the previous year, due to an increase of approximately 200,000 visitors at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters combined; and attendance of 185,000 during the inaugural four months at The Met Breuer.
Mr. Campbell said: “We are thrilled that the public continues to respond so enthusiastically to the Met’s exhibitions, collections, and programs. Our audiences are local, national, and international, reflecting the depth and breadth of the extraordinary works of art in our galleries. We are delighted that our visitors have also embraced our expanded programming at The Met Breuer as an integral part of The Met experience. And they continue to take advantage of the groundbreaking resources in our ‘fourth space’—digital—in greater numbers than ever before.”
The Met continues to be a popular destination for local visitors: 29% of the Museum’s visitors to The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters in FY16 came from the five boroughs of New York City, while 40% were from both New York City and the tri-state area. The Museum also continues to be New York’s most visited tourist attraction for domestic as well as international audiences—in FY16, international visitors from around 190 countries visited The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters, accounting for 41% of visitors.
Once again, exhibition attendance at The Met was strong over the course of the year. Twenty-one of the exhibitions on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in FY16 were visited by more than 100,000 visitors each, including Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends (254,750); Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age (210,903); Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom (187,030); Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France (165,220); Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World (which closed on July 17 with a total of 185,266); and Kongo: Power and Majesty (141,376).
Over half of the exhibitions that received more than 100,000 visitors were based on works of art from The Met’s own collection, among them: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from The Met Collection (247,833 visitors to date; on view through October 11); Grand Illusions: Staged Photography from The Met Collection (147,313); Reconstructions: Recent Photographs and Video from The Met Collection (141,075); Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and The Met (140,697); A Passion for Jade: The Heber Bishop Collection (133,572); and The Luxury of Time: European Clocks and Watches (126,787).
Also contributing to the high attendance in FY16 were the final weeks of last summer’s popular exhibitions The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe (which closed November 1, 2015, and drew 483,208 visitors) and China: Through the Looking Glass (which closed September 7, 2015, and attracted 815,992 people).
Attendance was also particularly strong during the early weeks of The Roof Garden Commission: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), which opened April 19 and has had more than 340,000 visitors to date; and the spring Costume Institute exhibition Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, which opened on May 5, 2016, and has had more than 540,000 visitors to date. Both of these exhibitions are still on view—Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is due to close on October 31, and the recently extended Manus x Machina will now close on September 5.
Attendance at The Met Breuer in its initial weeks—from March 1 through June 30, 2016—was strong at 185,000. The inaugural exhibitions there included Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible (on view through September 4) and Nasreen Mohamedi. At The Met Cloisters, the final 15 weeks of Treasures and Talismans: Rings from the Griffin Collection took place in FY16, bringing the total attendance for the exhibition to 163,772.
Education and Public Programs
The Met continued to present its broad range of live arts, educational, and public programming throughout the year, for visitors of all ages and interests, from novices to experts, including students, teachers, families, artists, visitors with disabilities, scholars, and others from around the world. In FY16, The Met engaged 220,796 students and teachers in 6,325 school group visits and multi-session school experiences. More than 126,000 of the students and teachers were from public, private, and parochial schools across New York City’s five boroughs; 76,734 of these were from New York City public schools. The Met’s educator programs on integrating art into classroom teaching were attended by a total of 3,812 teachers and school leaders in FY16.
The Met’s digital audience continues to expand. The Metropolitan Museum’s website (www.metmuseum.org) ended FY16 with a total of 32.5 million visits. The Met app, which launched in September 2014, was used nearly 1.9 million times in its first 21 months. The Museum’s Facebook account had more than 1.7 million followers (with a reach of 243 million people) in FY16, and its Twitter feed had 1.5 million followers (with tweets receiving 173 million impressions). The Met’s Webby Award-winning Instagram account had 1.4 million followers at the end of FY16.
The Artist Project, The Met’s online series—in which 120 contemporary artists respond to works of art or galleries at the Museum that sparked their imaginations—was completed in June 2016. The series won Gold in Online Presence from The American Alliance of Museums Media and Technology MUSE awards, and its episodes have been viewed 3.2 million times.
The Met’s digital audience is increasingly global. In FY16, 34% of website users were international, as were high percentages of followers on The Met’s social media platforms—61% on Instagram, 53% on Twitter, and 69% on Facebook. The Museum also has a presence on two of China’s largest social media networks: its account on Weibo, launched in December 2013, had 10 million impressions through the end of FY16; and its WeChat account launched in April 2016.
Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age: George A. Schastey: Made possible by the Enterprise Holdings Endowment and The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation. Additional support provided by Karen H. Bechtel.
Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom: Made possible by Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman. Additional support provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Diane Carol Brandt, and The Daniel P. Davison Fund. Supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France: Made possible by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and the Diane W. and James E. Burke Fund. Corporate support provided by Bank of America. Additional support provided by gifts made in memory of Parker Gilbert. Organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais, and the National Gallery of Canada, with the exceptional participation of the Château de Versailles.
Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World: Made possible by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Betsy and Edward Cohen / Areté Foundation. Additional support provided by Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman, Renée Belfer, Diane Carol Brandt, Gilbert and Ildiko Butler, Mary and Michael Jaharis, and The Vlachos Family Fund. Supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Kongo: Power and Majesty: Made possible by the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund and the Diane W. and James E. Burke Fund.
Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from The Met Collection: Made possible by the Joseph Hotung Fund.
Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and The Met: Made possible by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation Fund.
A Passion for Jade: The Heber Bishop Collection: Made possible by the Joseph Hotung Fund.
The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe: Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Additional support provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky. China: Through the Looking Glass: Made possible by Yahoo. Additional support is provided by Condé Nast and several Chinese donors.
The Roof Garden Commission: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn): Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Additional support provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.
Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology: Made possible by Apple. Additional support provided by Condé Nast.
Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible: Made possible by Leonard A. Lauder and The Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation. Additional support provided by The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation, the Jane and Robert Carroll Fund, Howard I. Hoffen & Sandra Hoffen, Kenneth and Rosalind Landis, Ann M. Spruill and Daniel H. Cantwell, and Northern Trust. Supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Nasreen Mohamedi: Made possible by Nita and Mukesh Ambani and the Reliance Foundation. Organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía with the collaboration of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. Treasures and Talismans: Rings from the Griffin Collection: Made possible by the Estate of Eldridge Greenlee.
The Met app is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.