New York’s most famous museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is home to over 2 million artworks, spanning more than 2 million square feet of Upper East Side real estate and 5,000 years of art history. And while the majority of the Met’s collection is in storage (both to protect light-sensitive pieces that are rotated out of permanent exhibits and merely due to lack of physical space), it would take you over 1,666 hours -- or 694 sleepless days -- to look at each piece for even 30 seconds.
Especially if you find yourself at the Met on a busy day, skip the overcrowded halls full of famous paintings you remember from art history class, and instead take advantage of some of the museum’s lesser-known treasures, which you can often enjoy in near solitude. We spoke to Met employees and Andrew Lear of Shady Ladies Tours to get their takes on the Met’s most overlooked works in the Asian, Egyptian, European departments. Don’t worry, Monet’s "Water Lilies" and the Temple of Dendur will still be there when you’re done eying these.