Collections: History

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: The Goddess Meret-Shemau

Images of the goddess Meret Shemau ("Meret of the Southern Lands") are recognizable from the curl at the end of her hairdo and her distincti...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Tile from a Royal Funerary Structure

    Rows of green-glazed rectangles like these examples tiled the walls of rooms beneath King Djoser\'s Step Pyramid and another nearby building...

     
    The decorative arts collection reflects changes in domestic life and design from the seventeenth century to the present. Included are materials ranging from furniture, silver, glass, and ceramics to period rooms and textiles. Although the collections include some European material, their greatest strength is in American objects.

    The earliest pieces of decorative art to enter the collection were silver spoons that came to the Museum in 1902; these were followed the next year by a number of pieces of European porcelain. With the arrival of Luke Vincent Lockwood, a noted collector and scholar, in 1914, the focus of the collections shifted from Europe to America. In 1915, the Museum acquired its first period room; although there are twenty-six period rooms installed in the Museum, due to ongoing construction only five that date from the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth century are currently on view. During the 1930s, the Museum began actively exhibiting modern design, focusing on design's relationship to industry.

    The collection of decorative arts is exhibited on the Museum's fourth floor in galleries and period rooms, and on the fifth floor in the Luce Center for American Art, including American Identities, a permanent display of American art, and the Visible Storage • Study Center. The department is supported by the American Art Council.

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