The World’s 10 Greatest Museums
Boasting incredible collections of historical artifacts and priceless treasures of the art world, these iconic institutions will take you on a journey through time.
The Best Museums in the World
The Louvre, Paris, France
It should come as no surprise that The Louvre tops our list of the best museums in the world. The building itself is a magnificent sight to see. Before being converted into a museum nearly two centuries ago, it served as a fortress and palace for the kings of France. Both the old structure and the new pyramid entrance, unveiled in 1989, are world-renowned attractions. Inside the museum, you’ll find a collection of some of the most important artistic and historical artifacts in the world, including an array of Egyptian arts and relics, the renowned Venus de Milo, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting.
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St. Petersburg, Russia
Founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, the Hermitage is one of the best museums in the world. This striking complex holds over three million pieces, dating as far back as the Stone Age. This museum is also home to the most paintings in the world, including works from Caravaggio, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso. Another very impressive part of the Hermitage is the Gold Room, which includes icons that once belonged to the Imperial family, and golden artifacts and jewellery from ancient Russian tribes.
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Washington, D.C, USA
Comprised of 19 individual museums, galleries and research stations, the Smithsonian complex is home to millions of historical specimens, documents, artwork, and books. However, there is one drawback: With so many things to see, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see the entirety of the Smithsonian’s collection on a single visit to Washington, D.C. The best way to enjoy this complex is to create a list “must-sees,” and plot a course through the various museums and galleries. Among the most famous items are the original star-spangled banner, the Hope Diamond, and the Wright Brothers’ Flyer—the first aircraft to achieve sustained flight. Above, the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
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Being one of the oldest museums in Europe, Uffizi Gallery in Florence has an extraordinary collection of art. Construction of the museum began in 1560 and wasn’t completed until 1581. The museum carries works from several of the world’s most influential and well-known artists, including Raphael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Diego Velázquez, Titian, Botticelli, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Every year, over one-and-a-half million people visit this impressive museum, whose collection of masterpieces is truly incomparable. Here you’ll see Filippo Lippi’s Madonna and Child, and numerous other Italian and International Renaissance Art pieces, famous throughout the world. Even those with little interest in art can’t help but be mesmerized by the rich art history living within the walls at the Uffizi Gallery.
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The Acropolis Museum
The Acropolis Museum is home to some of the most ancient artifacts in human history. It is built on the Acropolis of Athens and houses archaeological relics found on the land, including objects from the Greek Bronze Age, the days of the Roman Empire, and the Byzantine Era. Among the collection, visitors will find sculptures from the 6th century B.C. Plus, the modern building has transparent floors so observers can literally walk through the history of the Acropolis as they visit the museum. Opened to the public in 2009, this new, modern museum was created in the hopes of acquiring the Parthenon Marbles, currently held by the British Museum in London, England.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, USA
Home to more than two million artifacts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest museum in the United States, and among the 10 largest in the world. Here, you’ll find an unparalleled collection of arts from across the globe, including works from the likes of Monet and Picasso. You’ll also find more than 17,000 Greek and Roman artifacts, ceramics and textiles from Islamic cultures, medieval and Byzantine art, and around 900,000 books, manuscripts and periodicals to peruse.
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The British Museum
Shortly before his death, physician Sir Hans Sloane sold all of his remarkable collectibles to King George II. In 1759, the British Museum was opened to the public, most of its collection consisting of those relics the King had bought from Sloane. Since then, the museum’s catalogue has grown significantly, now with more than 8 million pieces of artwork, artifacts, documents and jewels from all over the world. Highlights include the impressive artifacts illustrating the histories of Egypt and Sudan, those legendary Parthenon Marbles, and the famous Rosetta Stone, carved in 196 BC, and the key to deciphering the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt.
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The Egyptian Museum
It isn’t surprising that the largest collection of Egyptian art and history can be found under the roof of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Among its most popular exhibits are artifacts from King Tutankhamun’s tomb, the famous boy king, whose tomb was found completely intact in 1922. In addition, the Egyptian Museum also contains the largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, mummies, and golden masks of Ancient Egypt’s kings, including an 11-kilogram solid gold mask that also belonged to King Tut.
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Museo del Prado
Founded in 1819, the Museo del Prado is the most significant museum in Spain. Located in Madrid, visitors can enjoy an astonishing collection of Spanish art, including paintings and sculptures dating back to the 12th century. This museum proudly holds pieces from the Spanish royal family, as well as world-renowned masterpieces like Francisco De Goya’s La Maja Desnuda and La Maja Vestida. You’ll also find masterpieces from the likes of Titian, Diego Velázquez, and Peter Paul Rubens. The building itself is also an impressive sight to see, commissioned by Charles III of Spain in 1785.
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The Rijksmuseum is dedicated to Dutch history, comprised of nearly 1 million objects dating as far back as 1200 AD. The museum is best-known for its impressive collection of 17th century paintings, including The Night Watch by Rembrandt (above), and important works from Frans Hals.
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