Museums are one of the best ways to learn about other cultures, famous people, and artistic masterpieces. Here are 10 of the most famous museums in the world, which you absolutely must visit if you go to the city where they are!
1) La Louvre – Paris, France
The Louvre is one of the most popular museums in Paris, thanks to its massive collection of artworks by artists such as Michelangelo, Monet, and Renoir. As an added bonus, admission is free every day of the year. The museum itself dates back to 1793 when Louis XVI commissioned architect Pierre Lescot to build a palace that would display royal art collections. It was renamed during Napoleon’s rule in 1801 (his actual plan was to move his entire army into it) but remains open today as one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive fine arts museums. On average, 6 million people visit each year—which amounts to more than 1,000 people per hour during peak hours! Most visitors spend between two and three hours exploring all 16 galleries filled with treasures like the Golden Turtle (c1425) by Chinese artist Chen Hongshou and Mozart’s famous painted piano.
2) British Museum – London, England
The British Museum is one of the largest museums in the world. It was founded in 1753 when Sir Hans Sloane offered his collection of books and objects to the nation. Today, the museum houses over one million objects, representing and interpreting the human story across the continents and the centuries. The museum is one of the world’s greatest collators of objects, with a collection that ranges from the earliest human artifacts to fine art, literature, and contemporary culture. Its holdings—which include Egyptian mummies, classical sculpture, and works by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt—are a delight for the eyes, mind, and spirit. The museum is also known for its collection of non-Western art, which contains objects from across the world, allowing visitors to explore cultures and civilizations that aren’t often represented in other museums. The collection is so large that it has been said to be the greatest museum of its kind in the world.
3) Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City, USA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of New York’s most famous museums. The museum complex is made up of five buildings: the Main Building on the east side of Central Park, the Modern Wing on the west side of the park, the American Wing on the west side, the Rockefeller Wing on the east side, and the Breuer Building on the east side. The collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art are one of the largest in the world, containing more than two million works of art. The collections include works of art from around the world, covering a wide range of periods, cultures, and styles. including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other artistic and cultural artifacts. The Met is located in the heart of Manhattan, east of Central Park.
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4) Victoria & Albert Museum – London, England
The V&A is one of the world’s finest museums, with over four million visitors a year. It has a collection of over one and a half million objects, spanning five thousand years of human history and culture. The museum is also a major art gallery, with world-renowned collections of British and European art, including fine works by Rembrandt, Picasso, Turner, and Matisse. The V&A is also the world’s largest museum of art and design, and its eclectic collection contains items ranging from royal coronation robes to bicycle designs. It also hosts major temporary exhibitions, such as blockbuster shows on David Bowie, Warhol, and the British Empire.
5) The Getty Center – Los Angeles, USA
The Getty Center is a world-famous art museum and library complex located in the affluent city of Brentwood, California. Designed by architect Richard Meier, the complex boasts four buildings set in a beautiful hillside landscape. It is surrounded by gardens and hiking trails and offers spectacular views of the Santa Monica Mountains. The center is visited by millions of tourists every year. The Center’s museum is one of the best in the world, with a comprehensive collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the present. The complex also contains a world-class library, which houses a vast collection of books, maps, and photographs related to the history of the Western world.
6) Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam, Netherlands
It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and what better way to describe Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum than through pictures? No matter your stance on art, it’s difficult not to be in awe of architect Pierre Cuypers’ design for one of Holland’s most famous museums. To make an already extraordinary museum even more enchanting, you can visit at night when floodlights illuminate each building along Amsterdam’s canal. Not only will you get views of iconic Dutch bridges like Magere Brug and Blauwbrug, but you can take in impressive sculptures while you wander along Singel Canal. The Rijksmuseum is one of the Netherlands’ most iconic museums. It was originally built in 1885 as the national museum of the Dutch Empire and was designed to showcase the art and culture of the Netherlands and its colonies. Today, the museum continues to be a space for Dutch art and culture, but it has also become an internationally-renowned museum and has collections spanning the globe. Its collection includes works of art from Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia, and it is particularly well-known for its collection of Dutch masters.
7) National Gallery – London, England
The National Gallery is one of the world’s greatest museums and contains one of the most famous paintings in the world, The Raising of Lazarus by Bernardino Pinturicchio. It is located in London and houses a vast collection of European art, from the 13th century to the present day, which includes paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and decorative arts. The National Gallery was founded in 1824 and was the first national gallery in the world to be founded on the principle of collecting art for art’s sake. Today, it is one of the most visited art galleries in the world and is home to one of the most famous paintings in the world, The Raising of Lazarus by Bernardino Pinturicchio.
It’s widely regarded as one of Britain’s most important cultural institutions, housing a collection of more than 2,300 paintings that span some seven centuries. Some of these works date back to c.1300; its collection also includes highlights from artists such as Botticelli, Rubens, and Van Gogh.
8) Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum – Madrid, Spain
Spanning four centuries of painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from Europe, America, and Asia, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a mecca for lovers of art. There are approximately 1,000 pieces in total within the museum’s collection; including important works by Goya, El Greco, and Picasso. Although these are some of their most renowned paintings they also have an impressive list of works by artists such as Rubens, Rembrandt, and Van Dyck. In addition to paintings, they also have an extensive range of ceramics.
9) The National History Museum – Santiago, Chile
The National History Museum – Santiago, Chile is home to one of the most impressive collections of Pre-Columbian artifacts in South America. The museum’s collection of more than 15,000 archaeological pieces is arranged into eight permanent exhibition halls, which provide a chronological narrative of the history of the Andes from the Paleoindian era to the Colonial period. One of the most impressive artifacts on display is a copper Incan mask, which was discovered in the Cusco region in the early 20th century. The mask is a unique example of Andean metalwork, which was later influenced by the religions and cultures of the Inca and Spanish Empires.
10) The Guggenheim Museum-Bilbao, Spain
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, is one of the most iconic buildings of the 20th century. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the museum has helped put Bilbao on the map as a world-class tourist destination. The museum, which is surrounded by water, is an example of vernacular architecture, the type of architecture that is in harmony with the surrounding environment. The unique building has a unique architectural style, which has been dubbed “Deconstructivist”. The museum is best known for its unique design, which is comprised of curved walls and ceilings, and resembles a ship. The museum, which is the largest Guggenheim location, features exhibits, programs, and events.