New York City Museum Guide | The Cloisters

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New York City Museum Guide

The Cloisters

Ft Washington Avenue at 190th Street

Ft Tryon Park | Manhattan

8th Av Express to 190th Street

General Information


Contact  212-923-3700 | The Cloisters at the Met Museum Site


November thru February  Tuesday thru Sunday 9:30A to 4:45P

March thru October  Tuesday thru Sunday 9:30A to 5:15P

Closed  New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day


Gift Shop | Gallery tour | Outdoor Cafe May thru October


Adults $20 | Seniors $15 | Students $10 | Children under 12 Free



The Cloisters is one of our favorites places not for just what it contains, but also for its setting. Ft Tryon Park and the Inwood neighborhood are set in areas carved by retreating glaciers and present some of the most dramatic scenery in New York City. Pinch yourself. Yes, you are in Manhattan. If time permits, instead of taking the A train, hop on the M4 bus anywhere along Madison Avenue in Midtown. It can be quite a long ride (an hour or more), but the bus wends its way along the Upper East Side, across the lower portion of Harlem, then on up Broadway through the thriving Washington Heights neighborhood and on into Inwood along Washington Avenue. It's a great way to get a tour of Manhattan neighborhoods that you otherwise might not see

The Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to medieval religious and secular art from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. Contrary to popular belief it was not John D Rockefeller Jr who brought the nuclei of the Cloisters and its collection to NYC. George Grey Barnard was a sculptor and admirer of most things Gothic. He searched France for the nearly 700 pieces of medieval art and architecture he purchased and established the first Cloisters in a building of his own design on Ft Washington Avenue in 1914. It was in 1925 that Rockefeller donated money so the museum could buy the collection and, five years later, the new Cloisters was installed within Ft Tryon Park, for which the land was, again, donated to the City by Rockefeller

There are 18 main areas incorporated into the Cloisters, arranged chronologically and focusing mainly on the Romanesque and Gothic styles of medieval art, architecture and decoration. The highlights, of course, are the five medieval Cloisters, built around sections brought to NYC by Barnard. On any day--bright and sunny, grey and cloudy--each cloister is a study in serene harmony. You just don't talk loudly in these exquisitely proportioned courts

Other highlights include the popular Unicorn Tapestries, a series of 7 wool and silk tapestries depicting The Hunt of the Unicorn. In the Spanish Room is found the 3-paneled Altarpiece of the Annunciation, a 15th century work by Robert Campin. The 3 rooms of the Treasury contain exquisite works from the 12th to 15th centuries. Included are an elaborately carved altar cross, probably from 12th century England; the 14th century Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux; and the Belles Heures de Jean, Duc de Berry, both magnificently illustrated manuscripts

Things change quickly in NYC. Be sure to contact the museum or society for changes to schedules, admission fees, restrictions on children, strollers, backpacks, etc.

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