Top 10 best museums in the world

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (November 9, 2020): Top 10 best museums in the world

Whether you are a fine art aficionado or history buff, there are a handful of museums that are sure to take your breath away and that you should visit (at least once) in your lifetime. The world’s most prestigious museums and galleries provide their visitors an awesome experience of observing the greatest works of art close up, while safeguarding their impressive collections for future generations. From New York to Paris and from Rome to St Petersburg, here’s my list of the 10 best museums in the world (or at least, the ones that impressed me the most) with one-of-a-kind displays that both educate and inspire. And while many of these museums are currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, you can still explore parts of these art institutions with insanely good virtual tours (links below).

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10. THE RIJKSMUSEUM, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

Located at the heart of Amsterdam’s Museum Square, the Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s most renowned art institutions. The museum first opened its doors in 1800 under the name ‘Nationale Kunstgalerij’. At the time, it was housed in Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, but in 1808, the museum moved to the new capital city of Amsterdam. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, Even if you have only little time to spare, a walk through the Gallery of Honor will offer you a glimpse of Dutch’s finest art.

  • Official website: Rijksmuseum
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: don’t miss out on Vermeer’s Milkmaid, Van Gogh’s Self-portrait and Rembrandt’s most well-known painting: the Night Watch.

THE RIJKSMUSEUM, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS


9. THE PRADO, MADRID, SPAIN

The building that today houses the Museo Nacional del Prado was designed by architect Juan de Villanueva in 1785. It was constructed to house the Natural History Cabinet, by orders of King Charles III. However, the building’s final purpose – as the new Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures – was the decision of the monarch’s grandson, King Ferdinand VII, encouraged by his wife Queen Maria Isabel de Braganza. The Prado, opened to the public in 1819, and today, it is one of the most popular places in the art world, with 3 million annual visitors and an online presence that exceeds 10 million visitors.

  • Official website: Prado
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: the numerous works by Francisco Goya, the single most extensively represented artist, as well as by Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Diego Velázquez, are some of the highlights of the collection.

THE PRADO, MADRID, SPAIN


8. THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MOMA), NEW YORK, USA

Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is dedicated to being the world’s foremost museum of modern art. The museum manifests this commitment by establishing, preserving, and documenting a collection of the highest order that reflects the vitality, complexity and unfolding patterns of contemporary art. From an initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, 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.

  • Official website: MoMA
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: the collection includes famous art works like The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso, Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol, and self-portraits by Frida Kahlo.

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (MOMA), NEW YORK, USA


7. THE VATICAN MUSEUMS, VATICAN CITY, ITALY

While Vatican City is home to the Roman Catholic Church’s governing body and its head, the pope, this small sovereign city-state within Rome offers a wealth of cultural attractions open to visitors of any faith. No visit to the Vatican City would be complete without visiting the world-famous Vatican Museums. They display works from the 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.

  • Official website: Vatican Museums
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: most travelers visit the Vatican Museums to get access to the Sistine Chapel, famous for its beautiful ceiling painted by Michelangelo.

THE VATICAN MUSEUMS, VATICAN CITY, ITALY


6. THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, WASHINGTON DC, USA

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, with 19 museums and the National Zoo. The Institution was founded in 1846 with funds from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829) according to his wishes “under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”  There’s so much to see that, if you spent one minute day and night looking at each object on exhibit, in ten years you would see only 10% of the whole site. Therefore, it’s wise to focus on only one or two exhibits at two or three different museums.

  • Official website: Smithsonian Institution
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, and the Apollo 11 command module at the National Air and Space Museum is on the bucket list of most visitors.

THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, WASHINGTON DC, USA


5. THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM, ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

The second-largest art museum in the world, 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’s includes over 3 million works of art and world culture artefacts. It contains paintings, graphic works, sculptures, works of applied art, archaeological artefacts and numismatic objects. The collections occupy a large complex of six historic buildings along Palace Embankment, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors.

  • Official website: State Hermitage Museum
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: the Treasure Gallery’s Gold Rooms showcase golden masterpieces from Eurasia, the Black Sea Littoral in antiquity, and the Orient.

THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM, ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA


4. THE UFFIZI GALLERIES, FLORENCE, ITALY

The Uffizi Galleries in Florence occupies the first and second floors of a large building constructed between 1560 and 1580 and designed by Giorgio Vasari. It is famous for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period). The collections of paintings from the 14th-century and Renaissance period include some absolute masterpieces. Moreover, the Gallery 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.

  • Official website: Uffezi Galleries
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: the museum is mainly known for its paintings by Italian artists (Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio), in addition to many precious works by European painters (mainly German, Dutch and Flemish).

THE UFFIZI GALLERIES, FLORENCE, ITALY


3. THE BRITISH MUSEUM, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

The British Museum in London was founded in 1753 and opened its doors in 1759. It was the first national museum to cover all fields of human knowledge, open to visitors from across the world. No other museum is responsible for collections of the same depth and breadth, beauty and significance. Its eight million objects allow us to explore the extraordinary diversity of human cultures, from small communities to vast empires, to discover the many forms and expressions human beings have given to every aspect of life, and to realize how closely they are interconnected.

  • Official website: British Museum
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: the Egyptian gallery boasts the world’s second finest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside Egypt, including the Rosetta Stone, carved in 196 BC.

THE BRITISH MUSEUM, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM


2. THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK, USA

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially “the Met”, is the largest art museum in the United States. Presenting over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy, the museum lives in two iconic sites in New York City: The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. Since its founding in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.

  • Official website: Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: the Met is known for its European paintings (works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, Rodin,etc …), Egyptian collection, and American paintings.

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK, USA


1. LE LOUVRE, PARIS, FRANCE

A visit to the Louvre and its collections lets visitors discover Western art from the Middle Ages to 1848, as well as a large number of ancient civilizations. Yet it also offers another history to explore. The grand palace that houses the museum, which dates back to the late twelfth century, is a true lesson in architecture: from 1200 to 2011, the most innovative architects have in turn built and developed the Louvre. Long the seat of power, this royal residence was also home to French heads of state until 1870 and is one of the major backdrops to the history of Paris and of France.

  • Official website: Louvre
  • Virtual tour: click here
  • Highlights: the Louvre’s most famous art works are “Venus de Milo,” “Winged Victory of Samothrace,” and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.”

LE LOUVRE, PARIS, FRANCE


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2 Comments

  1. Dear The Great Expert !
    Dear Friends !
    Amazing review in terms of the meaning of the museums. Don’t visit these museums during our life, this is at least a bitter trouble.
    Dear The Great Expert !
    We are used to seeing Your super elegant hotels and amazing travel that cause our natural desires to visit these places but also suggest sufficient financial costs.
    In this case , visiting these historical treasures and priceless works of art of famous masters of world significance require us from our only desire !
    Fortunately , I had the opportunity to visit one of these museums : Louvre ! This is in my heart forever ! There was still a ” Versal ” which also left a nice trace in my memory and in my life.
    Friendly , Vl’ado Orlandich.

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