If you are a history lover and curious to learn about the past, you’ll love to visit museums around the world. However, different people have different opinions when it comes to visiting a museum. Some find it quite fascinating and a great learning experience. There are others who get “bored to death” by such places and dread the idea of visiting one.
No matter what opinions people hold regarding museums, one can’t deny that visiting a museum is one of the best options available. It allows one to learn about the history of a place or a civilisation. The facts you’ll learn there and the artefacts you’ll get to see will give you much more insight regarding the history of something than a Google search can. However, studying about something and experiencing the same with your own eyes are two completely different experiences.
Museums of the World
Museums are the best places to learn about the past and broaden our knowledge, making them the number one reliable source for research purposes. Along with statues and artefacts, museums also provide books and scriptures on the same if you want to do a more detailed study. Not only are museums storehouses of the history of many civilisations/ dynasties, but they are also sources of inspiration for people who aspire to collect the best offerings and teachings of history and upgrade those as per their requirements to be relevant to the present times.
There are numerous museums worldwide dedicated to diverse themes/civilisations, each with a history and speciality of its own. So, the next time you travel to a foreign country, make sure to add a museum visit to the list of the touristy locations you’re planning to visit while you’re there. While the list of museums in the world is a long one, we’ve made it a little convenient for you by picking out the top 10 must-visit museums in the world.
Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Louvre Museum, called “Le Louvre” in French, is the second-largest museum globally and one of the most famous, making it a monumental site. Located on the right bank of the river Seine in the first arrondissement of Paris, the museum is within the grounds of the Louvre Palace, initially built between the 12th-13th century by King Phillip II of France. The museum opened for visitors in the year 1793.
Thronged by millions of visitors every year, the Louvre Museum was awarded the first rank among the world’s most visited museums in 2020. The entrance of the museum itself is eye-catching, with a magnificent glass pyramid installed in the courtyard. With its collection of exhibits from diverse origins, like Egypt, Greece, Rome, medieval Europe and the Napoleonic Era of France, this museum has a lot to offer to the curious eyes of visitors. The home to legendary artworks, which include “Venus de Milo” and “Winged Victory of Samothrace”, the tourist favourite, which attracts the highest number of visitors from all over the world, is Leonardo da Vinci‘s world-famous painting, “the Mona Lisa”.
The British Museum, London, England
Another famous museum that deserves to be among the top museums in the world is the British Museum. It was built in 1753 and finally opened to the public in 1759. The British Museum is an integral part of the Bloomsbury district of England. It holds the title of being the first public national museum in the world.
Initially, the museum primarily housed and showcased the findings of the Anglo-Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The theme of the British Museum and its collection of artefacts mainly focus on human history, art and culture. With a vast collection of eight million objects, it is one of the most comprehensive museums in the world. Adding to its credibility is that the museum boasts of having documented the story of human culture and its different stages from the beginning until the present time. Another impressive fact about the British Museum is its collection of Egyptian antiquities, which comes second only to the Egyptian Museum itself.
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, United States of America
Also referred to as “the Met”, the Metropolitan Museum Of Art is the largest art museum in the United States of America (USA). Established in 1870 on April 13, the main aim behind the establishment of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is to educate the people of America about art and its different forms. However, the main building, located at 1000 Fifth Avenue in New York, was opened on February 20, 1870.
The Met, with its extensive multi-cultural collection of art involving different origins, like African, Asian, Byzantine and Islamic, is an exciting place to visit. The museum showcases art from the classical era and accommodates modern art, which adds to its diversity and uniqueness. It attracts visitors from different places as well as generations to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This iconic museum is also known for its association with the “Met Gala” it hosts every year. Many celebrities walk the red carpet dressed in fashion pieces designed by multiple designers as per the gala’s theme, which obviously, is associated with art.
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, is located on the first and second floors of a building designed by Giorgio Vasari adjacent to Piazza Della Signoria. It is one of the oldest art museums globally. The official opening of the museum was in the year 1865. Before that, it had the recognition of a gallery. This museum is famous for conserving the history and artworks of Italy, which includes famous sculptures and paintings. The period of the art pieces mostly ranges from the 14th century and the Italian Renaissance era.
Pride of the Italians, the Uffizi Gallery has millions of visitors every year, with an everyday scene of people waiting in lines even before the museum opens. The museum boasts paintings by famous Italian artists like Giotto, Botticelli, Raffaello, Leonardo, Simone Martini, to name just a few, along with painters from other parts of Europe. In addition to that, the museum also houses a priceless collection of statues from the Medici family.
The Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome.
Located in a major international tourist attraction, the Vatican Museum is equally popular, like Vatican City. Yet, Vatican City, with its history and significance of being home to the Roman Catholic Church’s governing body, can only be studied or known better if one pays a visit to the Vatican Museums.
The Vatican Museums are famous worldwide for preserving and displaying the collections of centuries-old artwork belonging to the Catholic Church and the papacy. These artworks include an impressive, limited collection of world-known Roman sculptures and masterpieces of Renaissance Art. So, to say that those pieces are priceless would still be an understatement.
Other than the religious factor driving millions of tourists every year to the Vatican City is the beauty and exclusivity of the art pieces of the Vatican Museums. For example, the famous Sistine Chapel, a tourist favourite, is famous for its gorgeous ceiling, painted by Michelangelo.
State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
The State Hermitage Museum is located at Palace Square, 2, in St. Petersburg, Russia, is one of those museums that deserve a place on everyone’s must-visit list. Founded in the year 1764, the State Hermitage Museum is the largest art museum in the world. It was, however, opened to the public only in 1852.
It is the largest art museum globally. The building has a collection so vast that it is divided between six historical buildings. Five of these open up to the general public. It includes the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, the New Hermitage and the Hermitage Theatre. Talk about massive!
The museum holds the record of having the most significant number of paintings anywhere in the world. However, the museum is not limited to paintings. It also houses graphic works, sculptures, archaeological objects, numismatic objects, and many more. Apart from the artefacts, another thing that doesn’t fail to stun the visitors is the beautiful interior and architecture of the State Hermitage Museum. The beautiful golden rooms showcasing golden masterpieces from Eurasia have individual charms of their own. Other extraordinary artefacts include the Black Sea Littoral and the Orient.
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, United States of America
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), located in New York, USA, was founded relatively recently in 1929. Initially considered an educational institution, the MOMA is a one-of-a-kind museum that attracts many tourists and art lovers every year. The museum solely preserves and promotes modern and contemporary art. There is an impressive collection of 15,000 artefacts, showpieces, and 22,000 films, scripts, and videos.
The MOMA building’s architecture is in sync with its modern theme. Its glass walkways can showcase art from different angles, and is, without a doubt, an attention-grabber. The prized possessions of the MOMA include the famous, contemporary masterpieces like Monet’s Water Lilies, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and self-portraits by Frida Kahlo. So much talent under one roof! For people who get bored with classical history, the MOMA is the best place to visit. It may change their opinions about museums for the better, give fresh content and convince them to visit more often.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Located in Museum Square in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is the Dutch national museum, Rijksmuseum. It was first founded in 1798 on November 19 in The Hague and was later shifted to Amsterdam in 1798. Rijksmuseum falls among the world‘s largest art museums and is also one of the most visited ones. The museum saw many shifts to different locations, ultimately settling to the current location. It opened in 1885 and was designed by Pierre Cuypers.
The Rijksmuseum displays only 8000 objects for visitors to see from its original collection of 1 million art pieces. The museums’ attention-capturing artworks include Vermeer’s Milkmaid, a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt’s famous painting, The Night Watch. A walk through the Gallery of Honour is perfect for witnessing the finest artworks the Dutch have to offer.
The Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Do you love exploring the tales of the Egyptian Royals and their luxurious yet mysterious lives? Do you wish to see mummies someday with your own eyes? Well, if that’s the case, then the Egyptian Museum is the one you must visit on your trip to Egypt.
It exists in Bulaq, Cairo, Egypt, and has been in existence since 1858. The location of the museum saw many shifts, ultimately settling in Tahrir Square in 1902. The Egyptian Museum proudly showcases 1-20,000 pieces of history and art belonging to the ancient Egyptian era.
One can learn all about Egypt and its rich history through a visit to the museum. The Egyptian Museum has two floors. It accommodates its impressive collection of coins and papyrus used by the ancient Egyptians on the ground floor. The first floor is where the artefacts from the final two dynasties of Egypt and the ones from the Valley of Kings exist. However, the ultimate favourites of the visitors are, undoubtedly, the objects from the Tomb of Tutankhamen and the Royal Mummy Room. It is home to 27 royal mummies from pharaonic times.
Museum of Black Civilizations, Dakar, Senegal
Located in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, it is a unique museum. It will surely capture the interest of many visitors. It is the Museum of Black Civilizations, recently inaugurated in the year 2018. The vision for the formation of the museum first occurred to the first-ever president of Senegal, Leopold Sedar Senghor. The idea behind it was to celebrate the rich culture and history of the entire African Continent. It is by honouring its art and acknowledging the struggles the African people had to go through.
In 2021, the world still sees black people face racism and colourism. Even though racism has toned down a bit, there is still a long way to go. It is in the path of appreciation of black people and their history. So, a museum honouring this beautiful civilisation is essential for seeing their diverse and rich culture. The museum depicts the struggles they’ve overcome and their contribution to the world in general.
Museums are one of the best places to visit when you travel to a new city or country. That is because museums show us the rich history of that region. They give us in-depth information about the culture and heritage, the people, and the vibrancy of the place.
Check out the local museum in the city or country you are traveling in and learn more about the history and heritage of the place.