Skip to main content

European Decorative Arts & Sculpture

Experience a rich panorama of works of art for daily life through the museum’s superb collection of applied arts, design, architecture, and sculpture. Discover objects spanning medieval Europe to the global present, from Renaissance masterworks to cutting-edge contemporary design.

About the Collection

From Medieval Art to Contemporary Design

One of the oldest historic departments in the museum, the Department of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture oversees more than 22,000 objects, ranging chronologically from the middle ages to the present.

This expansive collection includes arms and armor, ceramics, glass, enamels, coins and medals, furniture, jewelry, lighting, metalwork, plastics, sculpture, stained glass, tapestries, textiles, wallpaper, architectural elements, and tools and utensils, as well as global contemporary design and craft.

Understanding the Galleries

The department’s primary galleries extend across much of the museum’s third floor in the main building, with objects from the collections displayed in and around period rooms to give visitors an idea of how objects from the same time period might have been used. Objects from 1100 to 1500 occupy the south side of the Great Stair Hall; objects from 1500 to 1800 occupy the north side of the Great Stair Hall, with arms and armor in between in dedicated galleries. Galleries featuring nineteenth-century objects are located on the north side of the second floor, while modern and contemporary designs of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries are shown on a rotating basis in the Collab Gallery 219 on the south side.

Notable Objects

Some strengths of the extraordinary collection include:

Interested in learning more about the museum’s collection of European decorative art? Plan your visit to the museum today.