The Cloisters Museum & Gardens is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. It is dedicated to Medieval art and architecture, and the building itself incorporates parts from five French cloistered abbeys.
Here, it’s easy to forget that you’re still in the city. It’s a very quiet, serene place, like being in a house of worship but without the baggage. The collection includes approximately 3,000 artifacts dating from the 9th to the 16th century. Some are conventionally displayed on walls or in cases while others, like doorways and stained glass windows, are integrated into the building.
Exploring the museum takes you outside into the courtyards [or cloisters] and then back inside again.
The building was designed by Charles Collens and opened in 1938. It houses artifacts like illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, metalwork, enamels, and ivories. Probably the most famous part of the collection is the series of unicorn tapestries, but my favorite aspect of the whole experience is simply being able to walk through the contemplative spaces. Imagine, peace and quiet in the city that never sleeps!