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Art/ Collecting Practices/ Global Partnerships

Global Partnerships

The Met highly values our long-standing relationships with scholarly institutions, governments, cultural organizations, and colleagues around the world, and we are committed to ongoing dialogue and partnerships that support and enhance engagement with art and creativity.

The Met has comprehensive traveling exhibition and loan-exchange programs (in a given year, we’ll have multiple exhibitions on view at venues in the United States and abroad, and we send thousands of works to other institutions for long- and short-term displays).  Annually, we interact with dozens of nations and international museums on any number of topics, issues, and opportunities. 

The Met has formally committed to long-term cooperative relationships with a number of countries, which have resulted in productive and meaningful Memorandums of Understanding (MOU). In fall 2022, we announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Hellenic Republic and the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens. The partnership followed the ratification by the Greek Parliament of a historic and innovative agreement between the parties that will bring 161 important Cycladic artifacts from the Leonard N. Stern Collection to The Met for a 25-year display starting in January 2024. This display will be followed by another 25-year period during which loans will travel from the Greece to The Met before the Stern collection resides permanently in Greece. Through the arrangement, the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and The Met will exchange expertise in the study and conservation of Cycladic works and share findings with the scholarly community through both an international symposium and an online database, among other initiatives.

In 2021, The Met and the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing their shared commitment to future exchanges of expertise and art. The agreement was signed at a ceremony held to mark the transfer of three works of art to the Nigerian National Collections: two sixteenth-century brass plaques created at the Court of Benin, and a brass head produced in Ife around the fourteenth-century. The Met initiated the transfers of these works following collaborative research, conducted in partnership with the NCMM and other colleagues, that led to the joint determination that the works should be transferred to Nigeria. The memorandum of understanding formalizes a shared commitment to future exchanges of expertise and art, including loans of Benin material from The Met for the opening of the museum planned for Benin City and other branches of Nigeria’s national museums as well as loans from Nigeria to The Met for the reopening of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing in 2024. In April of 2023, The Met and the Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) launched of a long-term project to facilitate the digitization and cataloguing of the NCMM’s collections. The multi-phased initiative includes the exploration of how the collaboration and training with The Met will best suit the future needs of the NCMM; convenings and workshops between the institutions; and the creation of a pilot project in the Nigerian museums around documentation and education. 

The Met has enjoyed a decade-long partnership with India, starting with the 2012 launch of the Indian Conservation Fellowship Program, which boasts dozens of fellowship opportunities at The Met, annual seminars and workshops in India, and more. A major exhibition featuring dozens of loans from institutions across India will open at The Met on July 21, 2023. Titled Tree and Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE–400 CE, the show will illuminate how the religious landscape of ancient India was transformed by the Buddhist presence. The Museum also has established a long-term cooperative relationship with the Republic of Korea that supports the display and study of Korean art.

In May 2023, The Met and the Republic of Italy, Sicilian Region signed an agreement that provides for long-term loans of ancient masterpieces to the Museum and the exchange of three-year loans between The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Archaeological Regional Museum “Antonino Salinas” of Palermo. The agreement follows decades of successful collaboration between the Museum and the Republic of Italy. Other major agreements between The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Italy include the 2006 agreement in which the Museum transferred title and returned 21 antiquities to Italy, including the famous Euphronios krater. Rotating loans of important Greek vases have been displayed at the Museum since that time.

Also in May 2023, The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the significant loan from the Mont’e Prama Foundation, Sardinia, Italy, of a colossal limestone statue of a boxer known as Manneddu (mannu in Sardinian means “large”). The nearly seven-foot-tall figure, dating from about 900–750 BCE, will be on view for six months—from May 25 through December 6, 2023—in Gallery 150 of The Met’s Greek and Roman Art galleries. This important loan is the first agreement between The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Mont’e Prama Foundation; it was organized with the support of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia and in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture and the President of the Sardinia Region. 

The Met hosts staff exchange programs (including with China, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Romania), and is a major partner in a range of conservation training initiatives—including the aforementioned Indian conservation fellowship program and a project that involves the training of museum professionals from Iraq, Syria, and Jordan in the photographic documentation and publication of endangered collections. We are involved in ongoing archaeological projects in Egypt (in Dahshur, Malqata, and Amarna), Greece (Palaikastro), Turkmenistan (Dandanakan and Kushmeihan) and Iraq (Al Hiba) all in partnership with local institutions and governments.

We are a longtime partner of the International Council of Museums (ICOM)—the organization announced its annual Emergency Red List of Cultural Objects at Risk (for Yemen in 2018 and for Syria in 2013) at The Met—and the Museum continues to support ICOM’s mission to ensure the conservation and protection of cultural goods. The Met has also been a leader in advocating for the protection of cultural heritage around the world, including in Afghanistan (2001), Armenia (2020), and Ukraine (2021). In 2023, The Met hosted a day-long workshop for U.S. Army, 353rd Civil Affairs Command. The workshop was coordinated with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) and focused on the military’s responsibilities under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.