Whether you’re a fine art connoisseur or a history buff, there are a few museums that will steal your breath away and that you should see at least once in your life.
The world’s most prominent museums and galleries provide tourists an incredible opportunity to see the world’s greatest works of art up close while also preserving their amazing collections for future generations. Here’s a list of the top museums in the globe, from New York to Paris, Rome to St. Petersburg, with one-of-a-kind exhibits that both educate and inspire.
PARIS, FRANCE: LE LOUVRE
Visitors can learn about Western art from the Middle Ages to 1848, as well as ancient civilizations, by visiting the Louvre and its holdings. It does, however, provide a different historical perspective to consider. The museum’s enormous palace, which dates from the late twelfth century, is a true architectural lesson: from 1200 to 2011, the most imaginative architects created and developed the Louvre. This royal castle, which served as the center of power until 1870, was also home to French chiefs of state and serves as one of the primary backgrounds to the history of Paris and France.
NEW YORK, USA: THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART (THE MET)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, also known as “the Met,” is the country’s largest art museum. The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters are two prominent New York City locations where visitors may view and enjoy over 5,000 years of art from throughout the world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has strived to be more than a collection of rare and beautiful items since its inception in 1870. Art comes alive every day in the museum’s galleries, exhibitions, and activities, exposing new ideas and unexpected connections across time and countries.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: THE BRITISH MUSEUM
The British Museum was founded in 1753 and first opened its doors in 1759 in London. It was the world’s first national museum, encompassing all branches of human knowledge and welcoming visitors from all over the globe. No other museum houses collections with the same depth and breadth, as well as the same beauty and historical relevance. Its eight million objects allow us to learn the astonishing range of human cultures, from small settlements to large empires, as well as the myriad forms and expressions that humans have given to every element of life and how intimately they are intertwined.
FLORENCE, ITALY: THE UFFIZI GALLERIES
The Uffizi Galleries in Florence are located on the first and second floors of a huge edifice planned by Giorgio Vasari and built between 1560 and 1580. It is well-known for its superb collections of antique sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period). Some great masterpieces can be found in the collections of paintings from the 14th and Renaissance periods. The Gallery also has an important collection of antique statues and busts from the Medici family, which adorns the halls and includes ancient Roman replicas of vanished Greek masterpieces.
ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM
The State Hermitage Museum, the world’s second-largest art museum, was established in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great purchased an amazing collection of masterpieces from Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. The museum now houses nearly 3 million objects of art and artifacts from around the world. Paintings, graphic works, sculptures, works of applied art, archaeological relics, and numismatic pieces are among the works on display. The treasures are housed in a six-building complex along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, which was once the residence of Russian emperors.
PARIS, FRANCE: MUSEE D’ORSAY
The Musée d’Orsay may be in the shadow of the Louvre, but any Parisian or art lover knows that this gorgeous museum (which was once a train station) is the place to go if you want to be surrounded by French paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photographs. In 2020, the museum received 0.87 million visitors, down from 3.65 million in 2019.
WASHINGTON DC, USA: THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
With 19 museums and the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Institution is the world’s biggest museum, education, and research complex. According to the wishes of Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829), the Smithsonian Institution was formed in 1846 with funding from him “under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the promotion and transmission of knowledge.” There is so much to see that if you spent one minute each day and night looking at each thing on display, you would only visit 10% of the site in ten years. As a result, it’s best to concentrate on only one or two exhibits spread among two or three institutions.
VATICAN CITY, ITALY: THE VATICAN MUSEUMS
While the Vatican City is home to the Roman Catholic Church’s governing body and its head, the pope, it also offers a plethora of cultural attractions to visitors of all faiths. The world-famous Vatican Museums are a must-see for any visitor to the Vatican City. They show items from the vast collection gathered by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the ages, including some of the world’s most famous Roman sculptures and most important Renaissance masterpieces.
NEW YORK, USA: THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MOMA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 as an educational institution with the goal of becoming the world’s preeminent museum of modern art. The museum demonstrates its dedication by assembling, preserving, and documenting a world-class collection that reflects contemporary art’s vibrancy, complexity, and evolving patterns. MoMA’s collection has grown to encompass 150,000 paintings, sculptures, and design objects, as well as 22,000 films, videos, media works, film stills, screenplays, and historical documents, from an original gift of eight prints and one drawing.
MADRID, SPAIN: THE PRADO
Architect Juan de Villanueva created the structure that now houses the Museo Nacional del Prado in 1785. On King Charles III’s direction, it was built to hold the Natural History Cabinet. The building’s final use – as the new Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures – was decided by the monarch’s grandson, King Ferdinand VII, with the support of his wife, Queen Maria Isabel de Braganza. The Prado first opened its doors to the public in 1819, and it is now one of the most visited art museums in the world, with 3 million annual visits and a web presence that reaches 10 million.
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: THE RIJKSMUSEUM
The Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s most known art institutions, located in the middle of Amsterdam’s Museum Square. Under the name ‘Nationale Kunstgalerij,’ the museum initially opened its doors in 1800. It was originally housed in Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, but in 1808, the museum relocated to Amsterdam, the new capital city. From a total collection of 1 million pieces dating from 1200 to 2000, the museum has 8,000 works of art and history on exhibit. Even if you only have a few minutes to spare, a stroll around the Gallery of Honor will provide you with a taste of Dutch art at its finest.