For some, walking through the halls of museums offers a chance to learn about different cultures and values. Others are drawn to see some of the greatest human masterpieces up close and in person. Planning a museum visit during your next vacation or holiday is a must. Whether you are an explorer, historian or artist at heart, these six top museums are sure to inspire, educate and recharge you.
1. The Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Louvre Museum in Paris is undoubtedly the worlds top museum. With more than 9 million visitors in 2014, it is one of the most visited museums in the world. Main attractions include Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” and the “Venus de Milo,” but the Louvre houses much more than most realize. As of 2013, the Louvre collections include almost 35,000 exhibited works of art and antiquities and holds a total of 460,000 items in its collections. More than 72,000 square meters of exhibition spaces to explore and contemplate makes Louvre an art-lover’s paradise.
2. The Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian is the world’s largest research and museum complex. It includes 15 separate museum and the National Zoo. The most visited Smithsonian Museums are the Natural History Museum, and the Air and Space Museum. In 2014, more than 6.5 million people visited the National Air and Space Museum and more than 7 million people visited the National Museum of Natural History. It’s nearly impossible to visit all 15 museums in one trip, but you could see three or four of them in a week.
3. The Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece
The Acropolis Museum is located at the base of the world famous Hill of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Opened to the public in 2009, it is ten times larger than the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis and has more than 14,000 square meters of exhibition space. In it’s first five years, the new museum admitted more than 6.5 million visitors.
It houses antiquities found at the Acropolis spanning the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. The main attraction is the stunning Parthenon Gallery where visitors can view the frieze of the Parthenon as it existed thousands of years ago. The exhibit is pieced together with a combination of the original blocks and cast copies of the pieces in other museums, such as the Louvre and the British Museum.
4. State Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
The State Hermitage is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. Founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, it has been open to the public since 1852. Today, it houses more than three million items in historic buildings along the Neva River and receives more than 2.8 million visitors annually. Its primary building, the Winter Palace was the official residence of the Russian monarchs from 1732 to 1917. Focusing on Western European art from the Middle Ages to the present day, the museum features works by Rembrandt, Rubens, da Vinci, Picasso, Gauguin, Cézanne, van Gogh, Tiepolo, Titian, and Goya. Main attractions include the Treasure Gallery’s Gold Rooms which showcases the museum’s magnificent and unique collections of jewelry art.
5. The British Museum, London, England
The British Museum is Britain’s largest museum. It was founded in 1753 and was the first national public museum in the world. Today, it receives nearly 6 million visitors every year. It is holds more that 8 million items in collections that span the history of the world’s cultures, from ancient stone tools to twentieth century prints. One of its main attractions is the Egyptian gallery which holds one of the finest Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt including the famous Rosetta stone.
6. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The Rijksmuseum is a Netherlands national museum of arts and history founded in The Hague in 1800. It exhibits more than 8,000 objects of art and history spanning 1200–2000 including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals. In 2014, the museum welcomed a record 2.5 million visitors.