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The Cloisters

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040, USA

Opening Hours

10:00 AM - 4:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit The Cloisters during the weekday mornings if possible, as it's less crowded and you can enjoy the tranquility of the medieval gardens almost by yourself. Also, many visitors don't know that the price of admission includes same-day entry to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, so save your ticket and enjoy two world class museums for the price of one."

What is The Cloisters?

The Cloisters is a remarkable museum located in Fort Tryon Park in New York, specifically focusing on the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe. It’s a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. The structure itself is an ensemble of cloistered abbeys transported from Europe, meticulously reassembled, and integrated with modern museum buildings designed in the medieval style. As you step into The Cloisters, you're transported back in time, surrounded by a rich collection of medieval treasures, tapestries, and serene gardens that offer a respite from the city’s bustle.

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History of The Cloisters

The Cloisters was an idea conceived by an American sculptor and art collector, George Grey Barnard, and enhanced by the philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The museum opened to the public in 1938, created to hold and display Barnard's collection of medieval art. Over time, it has developed into a renowned repository for thousands of medieval works, from the 12th through the 15th centuries. Its location in Fort Tryon Park, a plot of land also donated by Rockefeller, allows visitors to seemingly step back in time, amidst historical architecture and overlooking the Hudson River.


Efforts to preserve authenticity are evident in every corner of The Cloisters, with elements like the Cuxa Cloister, which incorporates elements from a French monastery, and the Fuentidueña Chapel, imported from a 12th-century Spanish church. These architectural pieces are not just backdrops but integral parts of the museum's storytelling.

Why is The Cloisters Important?

The Cloisters serves as a portal to the past, allowing us to experience the aesthetic and spiritual essence of medieval Europe in an authentic setting. Preserving artifacts from a pivotal era in history, it provides an unparalleled lens through which we can view and understand the cultural and artistic endeavors of that time. Moreover, it's an important preserve for the artistic heritage—possessing masterpieces like the renowned Unicorn Tapestries, a series of seven tapestries depicting the hunting of the mythical creature, which is emblematic of medieval lore and artistry.


The museum not only celebrates the artistic achievements of European history but also contributes to New York's cultural landscape by offering a unique, immersive experience unlike any other in the city. For students, historians, and art lovers alike, The Cloisters is an invaluable resource, and its importance extends further as it facilitates a deeper appreciation for the influences that shaped Western civilization.

Things to Do & See at The Cloisters

When you visit The Cloisters, there’s a tapestry of experiences waiting for you. You can marvel at the intricacy of the Unicorn Tapestries, delve into the details of illuminated manuscripts, and admire the elaborate carvings on the cloister capitals. The museum holds a wide array of medieval European artifacts, including sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, and pieces of gold and silverwork that are sure to captivate any observer.

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In addition to exploring the galleries, I always encourage visitors to spend time in the medieval gardens. These are reconstructions of horticultural spaces from the Middle Ages, and they are carefully cultivated with plant species that would have been familiar to medieval folks. And if you visit in the summer, the Concerts in the Cloisters series offers enchanting evenings of music amid such historic surroundings. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, workshops, and guided tours that enhance the understanding and appreciation of the art and architecture on display.


Lastly, don’t miss the chance to simply sit and absorb the tranquility that The Cloisters offer. Whether it's through a quiet walk in the gardens or pausing in the Romanesque Hall, the immersive atmosphere found here is historic yet timeless. It’s both an educational journey and a retreat, one that leaves visitors with a heightened sense of the medieval world.

Frequently asked questions

What are The Cloisters in New York?

The Cloisters is a museum located in Fort Tryon Park, New York, dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe. It is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

How can I get to The Cloisters?

You can reach The Cloisters by taking the subway to 190th Street and then a short bus ride or walk to Fort Tryon Park, or by driving and using nearby parking facilities.

What are the opening hours of The Cloisters?

The Cloisters is typically open seven days a week but hours can vary by season. It's best to check the official website for the most current information before visiting.

Are there guided tours available at The Cloisters?

Yes, The Cloisters offers guided tours which provide insights into the collection and the building's history. Check their official website or contact them directly for schedule and availability.

Is there an admission fee for The Cloisters?

Yes, there is an admission fee for The Cloisters, but it includes same-day admission to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fees are suggested donations, and visitors can pay what they wish.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040, USA

Opening Hours

10:00 AM - 4:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps