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A glass-enclosed gallery with wooden sculptures from Oceania

The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing

The Met's collection of art of the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific Islands, and North, Central, and South America comprises more than eleven thousand works of art of varied materials and types, representing diverse cultural traditions from as early as 3000 B.C.E. to the present. Highlights include decorative and ceremonial objects from the Court of Benin in Nigeria; sculpture from West and Central Africa; images of gods, ancestors, and spirits from New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Island Southeast Asia; and objects of gold, ceramic, and stone from the pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico and Central and South America.

The Met began to acquire works of ancient American art in the 19th century, but the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas was not established until 1969 with the promised gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller. The Rockefeller gift offer included more than three thousand works of art; a specialized library (the Robert Goldwater Library); and the Visual Resource Archive, which documents, in various formats, the art and culture of the regions represented by the department. In 1982, the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, newly built to display the collections, opened to the public. The wing is named for Nelson Rockefeller's son Michael, the collector of many of the Asmat objects from Papua Province (western New Guinea), Indonesia, now on display in the Museum. Since the opening of the wing, the department has mounted temporary, focused exhibitions on topics relevant to the collections.

Explore the Collection

The Renovated Galleries

After nearly forty years since the inauguration of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, The Met is creating three distinct new galleries for Sub-Saharan African Art, Ancient American Art, and Oceanic Art. Learn more about the renovation here.

Related Content


Discover The Met's many publications on the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Browse richly illustrated essays on the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Blog Articles

Read fresh perspectives on the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas from curators and others at the Museum.


Watch videos on the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at The Met—interviews, lectures, exhibition previews, and more.

Field Projects

Archaeology of the Ancient Americas: Excavation at Yokib

Recent archaeological discoveries and current excavations illuminate ancient American creativity.

Stay Connected

Meet the Staff

Get to know the people who care for the art.

Curatorial Friends Group

The Friends of The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing: Art of Five Continents brings together patrons and collectors in support of the department.