Best Museums to Visit in the World
Museums are hardly admired for their exhaustive collection of artifacts and ancient masterpieces. They give perfect representation of the history of a country as you get an opportunity to dig into the past of any nation with a simple glance at this grand compilation. There are several well-recognized museums you will come across in different nations and each of them is known for its unique collection. Here we have listed some of the best museums in the world you can consider visiting when you are on a mission to ‘see the world’:
- THE RIJKSMUSEUM, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS: The Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s best-known art institutions, located in the center of the Amsterdam Museum Square. In 1800, under the name “National Kunstgalerij” the museum opened its gates. The museum was situated at the time in Huis 10 Bosch, Hague, but was relocated to Amsterdam in 1808. 8,000 art and historical artifacts from its collection totaling 1 million artifacts from 1200 to 2000 were shown in the Museum. Even if you have limited time to do so, you will glimpse the best Dutch art through the Gallery of Honor.
- THE PRADO, MADRID, SPAIN: In 1785, Architect Juan de Villanueva built the structure which now houses the Museo Nacional del Prado. It was built under the orders of King Charles III to house the Council for Natural History. However, the end aim of the building – as the new Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture – was to be promoted by his wife, the Queen Maria Isabel of Braganza, as the choice of the monarch’s grandson, King Ferdinand VII. The Prado was inaugurated in 1819 to the public and now, with over three million visits and an online presence of over 10 million visitors, is also one of the world’s most popular destinations of art.
- THE VATICAN MUSEUMS, VATICAN CITY, ITALY: While the Vatican City houses the regulatory agency and the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, the small sovereign nation in Rome provides tourists of every religion a plethora of cultural delights. Without viewing the world-famous Vatican Museums, no visit to the Vatican City would be complete. They present works from the huge collection gathered through the ages by the Catholic Church and the Papacy, including many of the most famous Romanesque sculptures and the country’s most significant treasures of Renaissance art.
- THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, WASHINGTON DC, USA: With 19 museums and the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Institution is the biggest museum, training, and research complex worldwide. The institution was established in 1846, under the name of “Smithsonian institution, a knowledge development and spreading foundation,” with money from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829) according to his intentions. There is so much to be seen that, in ten years, if you spent a minute gazing at each thing on display day and night, only 10% of the total site would be seen. Therefore, just one or two displays in two or three distinct museums should be focused on.
- THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUMS, ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: The royal hermitage museum was created in 1764 when the outstanding collection by the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky was bought by Empress Catherine the Great as the second biggest art museum in the world. Today, the museum has more than 3 million items of art and artifacts of international culture. It consists of paintings, works of literature, sculptures, artworks, and numismatic relics. Six historical buildings along with the Embankment Palace, including the Winter Palace, are housed in a vast complex. The former palace of the Russian Emperors.
- THE UFFIZI GALLERIES, FLORENCE, ITALY: Florence’s Uffizi Galleries are the first and second floors of an important structure built by Giorgio Vasari from 1560 to 1580. It is renowned for its excellent sculptural and painting collections (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period). Some genuine classics are included in the collections of paintings from the 14th and the Renaissance. The gallery also has a rare collection of ancient statues and busts from the Medici family, decorated with antique replicas of antique Greek sculptures from Roman times.
- THE BRITISH MUSEUM, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Founded in 1753, the British Museum in London inaugurated in 1759. It was the first national museum in the world to include all human knowledge disciplines, available to the public. The same profundity, breadth, beauty, and relevance are not the responsibility of any other museum. Its eight million artifacts enable us to learn the incredible diversity of human civilizations, from small towns to large empires, to find the various shapes and manifestations of human people, and to understand how intimately linked they are.
- THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK, USA: “The Met” is the most important museum of art in the U.S. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Showing the world’s over 5,000 years of art, the museum lives and enjoys two of New York City’s famous places: The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. The Met has always sought more than a treasure house of rare and exquisite items since its foundation in 1870. In the halls of the museum and via its exhibitions and activities, art revives every day, bringing to light new ideas and surprising connections across time and countries.
- LE LOUVRE, PARIS, FRANCE: Visitors can explore western art from the Middle Ages to 1848 and several ancient civilizations on the occasion of a visit to the Louver and its treasures. However, it also gives a different history. A true lesson in architecture is that the magnificent castle housing the museum goes back to the late Twenty-fifth Century, with the Louvre created and expanded by the most inventive architects from 1200 to 2011. This Royal Residence, the long seat of power, housed French rulers of state until 1870, is one of the most important backgrounds in Paris and France’s history.
- TOKYO NATIONAL MUSEUMS, JAPAN: The Tokyo National Museum was created in 1872 and is Japan’s oldest and biggest. Ancient Japanese and Asian art on the Silk Road is the museum’s collection. A huge collection of Greco-Buddhist art is also available and it is one of the big reasons why this masterpiece is listed amongst one of the top museums in the world to visit.
- MUSEO NACIONAL DE ANTROPOLOGIA, MEXICO: In Mexico City, there are archaeological relics from pre-Columbian heritage, in the National Museum of Anthropology. The museum, established in 1964, has a series of important exhibits, such as gigantic stone heads from Olmeca and Chichen Itza Sacred Cenote. However, the most renowned item is the Stone of the Sun, which was not used as a calendar, but it has 20-day marks and the 4 sunny ages which preceded the 5th Sun.
- NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM, TAIPEI: The Taipei National Palace Museum holds the world’s biggest collection of antiques and ancestral Chinese artworks. In 1925, soon after the expulsion of China’s last emperor, it was created as a palace museum in Peking’s Forbidden City. The most valued articles in the collection of the museum were transferred to Taiwan in the closing years of the Chinese Civil War. The Communist troops had already taken over the Palace Museum by the time the objects arrived in Taiwan.
- THE SHRINE OF THE BOOK: It is located in Israel and features some of the grand collection of cultural masterpieces and artifacts that symbolizes Christianity. There are several exhibitions organized here that give visitors an opportunity to discover more about the history of Israel. It is one of the must-visit museums in the world where foreigners gather in huge numbers to explore more about the ancient culture of Israel.
- TOKUGAWA ART MUSEUM: If you ever get an opportunity to visit Japan then you must add a visit to Tokugawa Art Museum to your itinerary. This amazing art museum helps you to take a sneak peek into the old culture and lifestyle of the Japanese. Here you can spot several exhibits on clothing, pottery, armor and samurai sword which is definitely a rare sight to watch.
- THE NATIONAL 9/11 MUSEUM AND MEMORIAL: This incredible museum commemorates the civilians who died during a terror attack on World Trade Centre during 9/11. The museum demonstrates the story of this miserable attack through artifacts, archives and various exhibits. Outside the museum, you will spot a memorial pool where names of people who lost their lives in this attack are inscribed.
- THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART: It is another magnificent museum to visit in New York. It was founded in the year 1929 and recognized as the first museum dedicated to modern art. The museum features a comprehensive collection of art that dates back to old centuries. Here you can spot some of the extraordinary works of art that look truly magnificent to eyes. No wonder, it is listed amongst one of the best museums in the world to visit any time during the year.
- THE NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM: If archeology is your main field of interest then come to Greece where you will get an opportunity to see everything in The National Archaeological Museum. Here you can spot an amazing compilation of Greek art. The museum features several delicate masterpieces and it will take extreme attention to detail from your side to discover the past of all this majestic collection.
- THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM: The national collection of Britain divided in the 19th century into two parts – The British Museum and The Natural History Museum. If you are a history lover then you will prefer to take a long walk through this museum while exploring each of its masterpieces that give a perfect representation of the evolution of life.
What’s next waiting for you?
Museums play important role in the tourism of every country as most of the foreign visitors prefer to visit these places to know more about the country’s history. The names mentioned above are only some of the famous museums in the world you will come across and the list is definitely never-ending. So whenever you plan a tour to any destination, make sure you visit some of the key museums to know about the unique culture and memorable part of the country. Check out our other travel guides to explore some other popular sightseeing locations in the world.