The 20 Most Popular Museums in the World
From the Met to the Louvre and everything in between, these are the museums that travelers visited the most in 2017.
Located in Trafalgar Square in Central London, the National Gallery features one of the world’s greatest collections of Western European paintings. Dating back to 1824, it has over 2,300 paintings, including amazing works from artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Vincent Van Gogh, Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Claude Monet.
American Museum of Natural History
Founded in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in Theodore Roosevelt Park, directly across the street from Central Park. The museum explores human cultures, the natural world, and the universe, featuring over 33 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and human cultural artifacts, of which only a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. You can spend the night here—and at these 13 other museums.
National Palace Museum
Located in Taipei, Taiwan, the National Palace Museum houses some of the finest collections of Chinese art, including the famous jade cabbage, historic statuary, bronzes, and religious objects. The National Palace Museum and the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City, Beijing, are often confused as the same museum, and understandably so. The two were once a single museum but split in two as a result of the Chinese Civil War in the 20th century.
Natural History Museum
Located in South Kensington, London, the Natural History Museum took seven years to construct before being completed in 1881. It houses 80 million specimens dating from the formation of the solar system to the present day—spanning a period of 4.5 billion years. Don’t miss the world’s most bizarre tourist destinations.
State Hermitage Museum
Founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, this St. Petersburg, Russia museum was opened to house 255 paintings purchased from Berlin, Germany, by the country’s longest-ruling female leader. The Hermitage now contains more than 2.7 million exhibits and displays.
China Science and Technology Museum
A major science museum established in 1988 in Beijing, China, the China Science and Technology Museum exhibits ancient Chinese technology such as astronomical devices, the compass, and bronze smelting. Among the prominent exhibits are the spacesuits of Yang Liwei, the first Chinese spaceman. You won’t want to miss the 12 best dinosaur museums around the world.
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This Spanish museum located in Madrid features more than 20,000 works spanning the time period from the late 19th century to the present. Originally a local hospital, it was converted into a museum in 1992 and serves as the national museum of the country. Picasso’s Guernica is among its most influential works.
National Museum of American History
Located in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History features more than three million artifacts from American history. These range from President Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 top hat he wore on the night of his assassination at Ford’s Theater to the original “Star-Spangled Banner” flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen what is now our national anthem to a collection of the First Ladies’ inaugural gowns to puppets from “The Muppet Show.” Find out about the 16 best American cities for history buffs.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Founded in 1852, this museum was named after the U.K.’s Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Emphasizing architectural and decorative arts, the Kensington, London museum spotlights their love and patronage of the arts and sciences. The overall museum houses a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects ranging from ancient Chinese ceramics to Vivienne Westwood fashions to David Bowie posters.
Located in Paris, France, the Centre Pompidou houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne, which is the largest museum of modern art in Europe. It houses several paintings by Henri Matisse and Picasso, as well as a vast public library and IRCAM, which is a center for music and acoustic research. Read on for the most popular cultural attractions in the world.