Experienced travelers never miss a chance to visit a signature cultural institution whenever they’re in a new place or country. A good museum garners its accolade through its top-tier galleries, which adequately highlights the history, culture, and creativity of the state it’s located. Nowadays, we are fortunate to have a full-array of repositories exist for every type of visitor, and the only question is knowing where to go.
So you’re a fine art aficionado, someone who prefers paintings and crafts, or a history buff, the best way to determine where to travel next is through a place’s well-curated storehouses of history and culture that will educate and inspire alike.
The world’s best and most prestigious museums await– here are ten world-class museums for your next travel.
Le Louvre – Paris, France
Le Louvre isn’t new to a museum enthusiast’s “to see” list, and frankly, it isn’t surprising. Visit Louvre and discover Western Art from the Middle Ages to 1848 and numerous ancient civilizations from its collections. The grand palace that nestles the museum also offers another history to explore, as it dates back to the late twelfth century and holds a true lesson in architecture. Indeed, it deserves its spot as one of the significant backdrops to the history of Paris and France!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, USA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the country. The prestigious museum presents over 5,000 years of world-class art for its visitors to experience and enjoy. Its two iconic sites in New York City, The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters, gives life to a treasury of rare and beautiful objects– revealing new ideas and unexpected connections across time and cultures through its galleries and exhibitions.
The British Museum – London, United Kingdom
Founded in 1753, The British Museum is the first national museum to cover human knowledge that opened to visitors worldwide. No other museum is responsible for collections of the same depth and breadth, beauty, and significance– its eight million objects allow visitors to explore the extraordinary diversity of human cultures, from small communities to vast empires. The British Museum unfolds many forms and expressions human beings have given to every aspect of life that will help realize how closely they are interconnected.
The Uffizi Galleries – Florence, Italy
Florence’s Uffizi Galleries occupies the first and second floors of a large building constructed between 1560 and 1580, designed by Giorgio Vasari. It’s famous for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period) and series of artworks from the 14th-century and Renaissance period, including some absolute masterpieces. The Uffizi also boasts an invaluable collection of ancient statues and busts from the Medici family, which adorns the corridors and consists of ancient Roman copies of lost Greek sculptures.
The State Hermitage Museum – St. Petersburg, Russia
Known to be the world’s second-largest art museum, the State Hermitage Museum was founded in 1764, when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of works from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. Today, the museum boasts over three million artworks and world culture artifacts. These contain paintings, graphic works, sculptures, applied art, archaeological artifacts, and numismatic objects. These collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former Russian emperors’ residence.
The Smithsonian Institution – Washington DC, USA
Welcome to Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. Founded in 1846, with funds from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829), the institution boasts 19 museums and the National Zoo. There’s so much to see at the famous repository that if you spent one minute day and night looking at each object on exhibit, it would take you ten years to see only 10% of the whole site.
The Vatican Museums – Vatican City, Italy
While the Vatican City is known as home to the Roman Catholic church’s governing body and head, the pope, the small sovereign city-state offers a wealth of cultural attractions open to visitors of all faiths. Take a trip to Vatican City and explore its world-famous Vatican Museums. Marvel at its immense collection amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries, including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.
The Museum of Modern Art – New York, USA
Formerly known as an educational institution back in 1929, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is now the world’s foremost museum of modern art. It manifests its commitment by establishing, preserving, and documenting a collection of the highest order that reflects the vitality, complexity, and unfolding patterns of contemporary art. From its initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, the MoMA’s collection has grown to include 150,000 paintings, sculptures, and design objects, as well as some 22,000 films, videos, media works, film stills, scripts, and historical documents.
The Prado – Madrid, Spain
The Prado, or Museo Nacional del Prado, was a building designed by architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785. Built to house the Natural History Cabinet by orders of King Charles III, the building’s final purpose – as the new Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures – was the decision of the monarch’s grandson, King Ferdinand. The Prado is one of the most popular places in the art world, with 3 million annual visitors and an online presence that exceeds 10 million virtual visitors.
The Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Rijksmuseum is one of the most renowned art institutions, located in Amsterdam’s “Museum Square.” It was formerly known as “Nationale Kunstgalerij” back in the 1800s, but its name and location changed in 1808. Currently, the museum has 8,000 objects of art and history on display. Have you got only a little time to spare? A walk through the Gallery of Honor will offer you a glimpse of Dutch’s finest art.
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