I'm pleased to share with you a video that takes you to some of my favorite works of art in our galleries and highlights why the Met belongs to all of us—families, students, scholars—visitors from across our nation and around the globe. I hope you will support the collections and programs that make the Met such an extraordinary place.
Hi, I'm Tom Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum, and I'm speaking today from one of my favorite places in the world—the balcony above the Met's Great Hall. From here you can find a different culture in every direction—Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas. The Met is a truly global place.
It's no surprise that over five million people came here last year, and another forty million visited our website. Few things speak so powerfully to us as the art within these galleries. In fact, your connection to the Met is fundamentally why it was established—a museum created by citizens for citizens. It was a wildly ambitious concept 140 years ago when the Met was founded, but it stays as relevant today as it has ever been.
What does it matter to have the Metropolitan Museum here in New York? In a city where so many cultures collide, it is simple. The Met is our collective memory and our classroom. It is our voice, our inspiration, and our pride. Years ago, on my very first visit to the Museum, I realized that no matter where you're from, your history is to be found here.
As I look forward and think of the Met's 150th anniversary in 2020, I challenge myself and our staff to envisage the museum that I want to see then—what we can change and refine, and what should be treasured and left untouched. Of course, we hope you'll join us as we pursue all these ambitions. Whether renewing your membership, shopping online, having a drink with us on a Saturday night, or giving a membership as a gift. It all makes a difference, and it makes the future of the Met our achievement. I can't think of a more exciting and worthwhile collaboration. Thank you.