Best Museums: History, Nature, Art, and More
Full of life, history, and exploration, museums bring people of all walks of life together. In this list of the best museums, we have detailed 25 of the best museums in the world. From history to science to art, all of the museums on this list offer something truly special.
And thankfully, many of the museums on this list are either always free, or free on certain days, so your wallet doesn’t need to hinder you from experiencing all these museums have to offer. With so much to see, don’t delay – there is a museum near you just waiting to be explored!
And, for even more museum help, check out our list of the best museums in New York City and our list of the best museums in Washington DC.
Top 25 Museums:
A massive building, the State Hermitage Museum houses over 3 million artifacts. With so much space, visitors can see everything from art to archaeological discoveries to arms and armory. The building itself is a work of art, making any visit to the State Hermitage Museum a special trip.
Featuring a wide variety of paintings and sculptures, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met, is a well-known fixture in New York City. And, with constantly changing exhibitions, art enthusiasts will enjoy going to the Met time and time again. If you are in NYC, the Met is a must-see.
A family of five museums throughout England, two the Imperials War Museums are housed in London: the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall and the Royal Navy ship HMS Belfast which is moored on the Thames. Dedicated to exploring the causes of war and its impact on people’s lives, the museums paint a picture of life during wartime. With lots of interactive exhibits, educational activities, and ever-changing displays, the Imperial War Museums are worth visiting!
Housing the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands is a must-visit for any admirer of van Gogh. Thousands of van Gogh’s works are displayed here, including well-known pieces like van Gogh’s self-portrait and his flower pieces. Add in the museum’s beautiful surroundings, and the van Gogh Museum is a must-visit in Amsterdam.
The Pergamon Museum is nothing short of a wonder in itself. Its rooms are overflowing with some of the world’s most impressive, long buried, treasures. The museum encompasses the vast history of the Ancient East, with collections that are not able to be experienced anywhere else. The museum is named after the Pergamon Altar, a Hellenistic masterpiece of white stone architecture. The imposing structure invites you to walk the steps of 2000 years of history and behold its intricacies close-up. But don’t get lost in this wonder for too long, as there are many more under the museum’s roof. With gathered artifacts from Iran, Asia Minor, Egypt, and the Caucasus, these worlds have been recreated for you to explore within the Pergamon Museum.
Almost 200 years old, the Museo del Prado is Spain’s national art museum. Located in central Madrid, the museum houses an extensive collection of European art, dating from the 12th century to modern times. If you love all things Spanish and all things art, the Museo del Prado should be a definite stop,
With ten curatorial and research departments, the British Museum is a vast museum that covers everything from Africa and Ancient Egypt to coins and prints. Best of all, the museum is free and is easily accessed by several London tube stops. Plan for at least a whole day of exploring here – you will need it!
With thousands of air and space objects on display, including the original Wright brothers airplane and a lunar rock you can touch, the National Air and Space Museum is fun for young and old alike. Now with two locations, one in Washington D.C. and one in Chantilly, Virginia, the museum also features a planetarium, and IMAX Theater and a public observatory.
With ancient sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the Modern period, the Uffizi a premier art museum in the heart of Florence, Italy. Masterpieces include works from Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Mantegna, in addition to pieces from other European painters. The Uffizi also has a collection of ancient statues and busts from the Medici family, making it an excellent destination for any art and sculpture lover.
The Dutch national museum, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam features items from over 800 years of Dutch history within a global context. Visitors can see famous works by Rembrandt and van Gogh, and explore Delftware, sculptures, clothing, and more at the museum. If you want a museum that features both art and history, Rijksmuseum is a great choice.
The “Museum of Museums,” the Vatican Museum is a breathtaking collection of art, archaeology and more. Gathered by the different Popes from over the centuries, the collections are something every culture lover should see at some point in their lives. Even the rooms themselves are pieces of art, with the Sistine Chapel and other significant rooms housed at the Vatican.
Featuring varied collections and displays from the life sciences, earth sciences, and cultures from around the world, the World Museum in Liverpool, England truly has something for everyone. Visitors can enjoy the famous Terracotta Warriors exhibit, visit the aquarium and planetarium, or discover dinosaurs and planets in between visiting the bug house and ancient Egypt exhibits.
With a permanent collection of almost 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, visitors to the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan can spend days enjoying the collections. And, with pieces that date back to the 10th century as well as modern pieces, the National Palace Museum is a must-see for any lover of Asian culture.
The Egyptian Museum, or the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, in Cairo, Egypt houses more than 100,000 Egyptian artifacts. Commissioned in 1835 as a way to help stop the plundering of Egypt’s archaeological sites, the museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in ancient Egypt antiquities.
The world-famous Natural History Museum in London, England is a massive museum that features a variety of interesting exhibits and displays. Visitors can enjoy the Life and Earth Galleries, as well as a wildlife garden and geological collections. For a diverse, exciting museum, the Natural History Museum is a must visit.
One of Scandinavia’s most visited museums, The Vasa Museum is a restored hundreds of years old warship in Stockholm, Sweden. Visitors can learn about maritime and transport history at the museum and wonder at the unique and well-preserved inner workings of the warship.
With immersive exhibits, multimedia experiences, and a large collection of artifacts, the WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana gives visitors an inside look at the war that changed the world. For anyone fascinated with World War II, the WWII Museum is a great way to connect with history and learn.
The most visited museum in the world, The Louvre is situated smack dab in the middle of beautiful Paris. From its iconic glass pyramid entrance to the famed Mona Lisa, this museum has endless rooms and corridors open for exploration. You can easily spend all day here, so plan accordingly.
The main building on the National Mall, the Museum of Natural History contains 1.5 million square feet of space. Exhibits include everything from dinosaurs to gemstones to insects and plants. Everyone from kids to adults will enjoy this museum, and as part of the National Mall, the Museum of Natural History also offers free admission.
Founded in 2003, the National Museum of China is a merger of two previous museums – the National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of Chinese Revolution. Highly visited, the museum is a leader in displaying Chinese cultural relics and artwork.
Free of charge and open most of the year, the National Gallery houses Western European art from the 13th to 19th century. With a wide variety of styles showcased, art lovers will truly enjoy the National Gallery. So if you are in the London area make sure that set aside sometime to visit this great museum.
Housed in a former railway station and just minutes from the Louvre, the Orsay is every bit as special as the Louvre. If you already have a trip to the Louvre planned, you cannot skip the Orsay. Add in the picture perfect location and this museum is not to be missed.
Voted the number one museum in the world by Trip Advisor contributors, the Art Institute of Chicago features almost every style and period of art. Famous pieces (think Monet) are on display, as well as a number of lesser known works. Check it out for yourself to see what all the buzz is about.
Best known for housing Michelangelo’s David, the Accademia is also home to a number of other Italian masterpieces. If in Florence, the Accademia is a must see with all of its spectacular works of art.
Situated at the base of the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum provides an up close and personal look at all things Acropolis related. And, since it was completed in 2007, the museum is a fully modern building; a nice contrast to the centuries old buildings surrounding it.
Best Museums Conclusion
The museums on this list could keep you captivated for days and even weeks on end with all of the amazing exhibits and displays that they offer. It was really hard for us to narrow down the list as much as we did, and I am sure we will continue to add some great museums moving forward.
If you have visited one of these great museums or feel that we left one off of here that should’ve made it, please comment below and let us know!