MoMA vs MET – Which New York Art Museum is the Best

You are going to New York City and don’t know which art museum to choose – MoMA vs MET?

If you are an art enthusiast, both museums are a must-see.

However, there are multiple factors to consider when choosing the best museum to visit, like your time availability, tour budget, interest, artistic focus, and art period.

We have made it easier to decide by comparing MET vs MoMA and choosing the best museum in this article.

Brief Introduction of MoMA and the MET

The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA New York, founded in 1929, is dedicated to modern and contemporary art, with collections over 120 years.

On the other hand, founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or MET, is the largest art museum in the United States.

It features various artworks from different eras, nations, and cultures for over 5,000 years.

Both located in the heart of Manhattan, they sit at a distance of 1.5 miles (2.5 km) apart.

A car, taxi or bus takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

If you want to walk through the streets and Central Park, it is just 35 minutes away.

MoMA vs MET – Our Recommendation

The Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are the must-see sites in New York City.

If you have the time, budget and interest, we suggest you visit MET and MoMA.

You can explore ancient and modern art in one trip by visiting these famous museums in New York City.

It is up to you to take a self-guided tour with an audio guide or a guided tour for a deeper understanding of the creations.

Are the modern, avant-garde creations that interest you more, or does the extensive collection span over 5000 years of history and culture?

However, if it gets difficult to visit both, it will ultimately be your decision to choose out of your preferences.

Read ahead to find which is the best art museum in NYC as we compare Met and MoMA based on various parameters. 

MoMA vs MET – Ticket Prices

The MoMA and the MET museums receive millions of visitors yearly, making them the most popular. To ensure a visit, people must purchase tickets in advance.

The MoMA tickets come cheaper compared to the MET museum tickets.

The Museum of Modern Art entry tickets cost $30 for adult visitors between 17 and 64 years.

You get some discount on MoMA tickets for senior citizens (over 65 years) at $20 and for students with ID at $17.

Children below 16 years get free entry to the Museum.

An adult ticket to the Metropolitan Museum of Art costs $62 for visitors over 15.

The MET ticket cost for children of 2 to 14 years is $52, with free entry for kids below two years.

You get different self-guided tours and guided tour ticket options that you can choose from for a comprehensive art journey to both museums.

MoMA vs MET – Which is more famous?

Fame can be measured in various ways, including visitor numbers, global recognition, influence in the art world, and cultural significance. 

The Met generally attracts more visitors annually than MoMA, partly due to its larger size and broader collection, appealing to a wider audience. 

However, MoMA’s focus on modern and contemporary art makes it a pivotal institution in art, especially for enthusiasts and scholars in these fields.

Both museums are famous in their own right and contribute significantly to the cultural landscape of New York City and the global art scene. 

Which Museum has a Better Art Collection: MET or MoMA

Debating between two world-famous museum collections is a pleasant dilemma for an art lover.

This section discusses the different art forms available for visitors and which has a better collection. 

Modern and Contemporary Art Collection:

Both museums have significant collections of modern and contemporary art in their exhibitions.

The MoMA focuses only on such collections, with more than 200,000 artworks in paintings, sculptures, photographs, film, performance and architectural artifacts.

Some famous pieces include: 

  • Starry Night (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh
  • Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) by Pablo Picasso
  • The Sleeping Gypsy (1897) by Henri Rousseau
  • Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942-43) by Piet Mondrian
  • Number 31 (1950) by Jackson Pollock 

MET has about 12,000 collections of modern and contemporary artworks.

They include: 

  • Untitled Film Stills by Cindy Sherman
  • Wheat Field with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh
  • Tie (1957) by Pablo Picasso
  • Canopic Jars: Elk (Spike) (1993) by William Morris

Hence, MoMA is the clear winner if you consider modern art collections. 

Masterpieces at Met and MoMA

A few masterpieces at MoMA include:

  • Starry Night (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh
  • Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) by Pablo Picasso
  • Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) by Andy Warhol
  • The Sleeping Gypsy (1897) by Henri Rousseau
  • Number 31 (1950) by Jackson Pollock
  • Marilyn Diptych (1962) by Andy Warhol

The MET collection includes artworks over centuries, including paintings, sculptures, musical instruments, arms and armor, costumes, photographs etc.

These are part of Asian, European, Islamic, African, American and many other art forms. Some examples –

  • Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, Vincent van Gogh, 1887
  • The Death of Socrates, Jacques-Louis David, 1787
  • Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, Claude Monet, 1899
  • Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, Raphael, around 1504
  • Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1653
  • Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1931

Both museums go head to head when it comes to masterpieces. 

If you wish to see original versions of iconic art like Starry Night, visit MoMA or if you want to see a variety of collections, head to Met. 

Overall on Collections

MoMA’s collections are less diverse and restricted to a certain age and type of work, with variations in pre- and post-modern times.

It exhibits excellent contemporary artworks in a style that creates a charm on modern art connoisseurs.

With MET, the exposure to art is multi-dimensional and evokes historical evidence and thoughts.

The list goes on from traditional relics of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian empires, Islamic influence on art, Asian art, European art, Costume Institute, and more.

Therefore, most visitors would have a preference for MET over MoMA.

MoMA or MET – Which museum has the best features?

MoMA and MET provide audio guides for their guests for a seamless experience inside the museum.

The audio guides are an all-inclusive feature for guests with or without disabilities and are available in about ten languages.

The MoMA audio guides provide interactive, guided visualization sessions that invoke creative impulses in the listeners.

MET provides musical samples of how each instrument plays in its audio guides.

It is engaging and educational too, therefore enlightening the visitors.

MoMA has four eating options, including the fine dining Michelin-star restaurant The Modern and Cafe 2, Terrace Cafe and Espresso Bar.

On the other hand, the MET houses about seven eating outlets, including exquisite restaurants, bars, and a few casual cafes.

They are the Met Dining Room, Cantor Roof Garden Bar, Petrie Court Cafe, and The Eatery.

Both the museums are kid-friendly, with specific programs and events designed for the little wonders.

A museum map is a must, and both the museums provide that for easy navigation across the museum building.

Both museums have stores inside the premises, selling various goods as souvenirs or for art enthusiasts to study.

Be it MoMA or MET, both go hand in hand with the features and services that they provide for their guests.

However, in terms of dining or eating options, MET has far more options and varieties than MoMA.

MoMA vs MET – Building

The architectural design of both museums has a significant distinction, reflecting the type of art collections they display.

MoMA’s building structure is plush and modern-looking, which goes well with the surrounding midtown Manhattan buildings.

Built-in 1929, in every way, it echoes the modernism and current times to match the neighborhood.

Inaugurated in 1880, it portrays the historic times with its grand and architectural beauty.

In addition to being the site of several events like the Met Gala and Superbowl of Fashion, the Met building has been in numerous TV series.

MoMA vs MET – Where Can You See the Best Temporary Exhibitions

Each museum has its way of presenting art and introducing the makers of the art pieces.

MoMA temporary exhibits launch the greatest of the up-and-coming or internationally recognized talent.

Additionally, they provide unique and periodically changing performance schedules to extend the exposure to more talents.

The MET museum’s daily schedule of events covers a vast domain, from classics to post-modern artists in their unique ways.

MoMA vs MET – Museum Outdoor spaces

Both museums have designed open-air spaces amidst the Manhattan buildings to give art and art lovers the right mood.

MoMA features the famous sculpture garden on its ground floor, depicting different contemporary art forms.

The Modern Bar Room opens to the Sculpture Garden in MoMA, giving a serene view.

On the other hand, you can see changing exhibits every year in MET’s rooftop garden.

MET is closed on Wednesday and is open from 10 am to 5 pm throughout the week except for Friday and Saturday, when it closes at 9 pm.

There’s also a Martini Bar on the rooftop, though it’s only open on Friday and Saturday from 5.30 to 8 pm.

Unfortunately, guests can access the rooftop only in warmer months.

Nevertheless, the MET Museum scores more in this part for its magnificent view of Central Park.

MoMA vs MET – Opening hours 

Opening hours, best times to visit, and tour duration are essential in deciding which museum to visit.

The Museum of Modern Arts stays open daily from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm and extends to 7 pm on Saturday.

New Yorkers get a special advantage of visiting for free from 4 pm to 8 pm on the first Friday of every month.

On the other hand, the MET stays open from 10 am to 5.30 pm from Sunday to Thursday and till 9 pm on Friday and Saturday.

The best times to visit the museums are mornings on a weekday as soon as the museums open.

Even though you see a long queue while entering, they disperse quickly.

A quick MoMA takes about one to two hours, whereas a quick MET tour takes more than two hours because of its extensive exhibition and bigger area.

Therefore, if you are short on time, MET can be a difficult option to go ahead with.

MoMA vs MET – Expected Crowd

Both MoMA and MET are immensely popular when it comes to counting visitors.

As the museum name suggests, MoMA’s collection focuses on modern and contemporary.

The MET is a historic storehouse of relics and artifacts worldwide, from Egyptian, European, and Asian to American history and modern artworks.

Special events and temporary exhibitions can draw visitors to MoMA, but MET’s presence in popular culture wins the bet.

Therefore, it becomes evident that the expected crowd is more in MET due to its variety and expansive scope.

Final Verdict: MoMA or MET 

The best option would be to visit the MET and MoMA, but if you can only make one trip, here’s our best suggestion.

MoMA is your first stop if you’re fond of modern art and creation from 1880 onwards.

Again, MET is a must-visit if you are interested in modern and old ancient treasures, along with the Costume Institute that hosts the MET Gala every year.

What you prefer must direct you to go ahead with the museum of your choice.

MoMA is the best option if your itinerary has a time crunch, as MET takes more time, even with fast-track tickets.

Therefore, the ultimate decision-making lies with you. We have facilitated this article with all types of information for making a better decision.

FAQs About MoMa vs Met

1. How busy is the MET or MoMA?

MET sees a lot of crowds and is busy most of the time with its elaborate and wide range of historic art collections, exhibitions and shows.

On the other hand, MoMA sees fewer crowds as its focus is primarily on modern and contemporary art, which only attracts specific visitors who like such art forms.

2. Will the MET or MoMA have more recognizable art?

Each museum has its area of excellence. 

However, MET is more prominent and older, with collections from all over the world and many periods from Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Medieval to modern times, and has more recognizable artworks for display.

MoMA has had a wide variety of artwork collections from 1880 onwards till the present time.

3. Which is bigger, the MET or MoMA?

MET is more prominent in terms of area, sections, variety of collections, artists and types of exhibits.

4. Is Vincent van Gogh in MoMA or the Met?

Vincent van Gogh’s artworks are available in both museums.

You can see his “Starry Night,” “The Olive Trees” in MoMA, “Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat,” “ Corridor in the Asylum,” and many others in the MET museum.

Featured Image: Facebook.com(MuseumofModernArt),Facebook.com(Metmuseum)

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