11 Must-Visit Museums from Around the World

11 Must-Visit Museums from Around the World
The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo: istock

Whistle-stop tours, replicas of dinosaur footprints and a rich repository of van Gogh’s masterpieces—these museums house an impressive collection of wonderful and quirky finds.

Whether it is the visceral reminder of the largest human migration in Amritsar’s Partition Museum, the timeline of evolution at The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, or a repository of Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces at the eponymous museum in Amsterdam—we bring to you some of the greatest works of creativity, history and culture that best speak for themselves.

Philadelphia’s Parkway Museums, U.S.A

Philadelphia’s famed ‘Museum Mile’ is a hotspot for tourists and local art lovers alike. Modeled after the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway hosts some of the city’s most significant cultural institutions. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, a must-visit, boasts 2,000 years of art, including the world’s largest collection of works by Marcel Duchamp outside Europe. Visitors often climb the iconic Rocky Steps to reach its East Entrance, made famous by the “Rocky” films. Further down, The Rodin Museum offers one of the largest public collections of works by Auguste Rodin outside Paris, featuring notable pieces like The Thinker and The Gates of Hell. The Barnes Foundation, also on the parkway, showcases the world’s largest private collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces. This collection includes works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Van Gogh, all displayed as the late collector intended.

Must Read: 72 Hours in Philadelphia | Travel and Food Guide

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, England

The Neo-gothic-style museum built between 1855 and 1860, is in itself a grand business, and for any natural history enthusiast worth their salt, it only gets better inside. On display are giant ‘footprints’ of dinosaurs—the behemoths considered extinct about 65 million years ago, two taxidermy bears, and five cetacean (whales, dolphins and porpoises) skeletons hanging from the ceiling. Not to forget there is also a whole section of live collections of various insects from the Madagascar hissing cockroach to the Brazilian bird-eating spider. The experience of walking around the museum for the whole day is fabulous.

Kunsthaus Art Museum, Zurich, Switzerland

An unconventional, whistle-stop art tour at the Kunsthaus Art Museum in Zurich called #Letsmuseeum, created by Rea Eggli and her cultural event agency swissandfamous promises “useless details, weird stuff, little known facts about art works and an original perspective into art.” The tour starts outside the museum at the towering bronze cast, and is peppered with trivia such as of Auguste Rodin’s masterpiece “Gates of Hell,” inspired by Dante’s Inferno and Ghiberti’s “Gates of Paradise”—which weighs 8 tons, has 186 figures and took him 37 years to execute completely. Expect stellar works of Italian drawing and exhibitions devoted to the stylistic heterogeneity typical of transformative years in 1920s.

Museum of the Future, Dubai, U.A.E.

Located on the arterial Sheikh Zayed Road and in close proximity to the Burj Khalifa, Museum of the Future, with its unusual shape, cutting-edge architectural design elements and mind-bending exhibits, is unlike anything out there. For a city that always pushes boundaries and takes pride in thinking out of the box, the Museum of the Future seems like a perfect addition. Inside the vast seven-storey structure, you’ll find permanent exhibits that let you experience life on a space ship in 2071, plus explore a digital recreation of a part of the Amazon rainforest in Colombia. Other displays, meanwhile, focus on everything from renewables and DNA mapping to AI city-planning and the transport of the future.

Also Read: The Ultimate Dubai Food And Travel Guide

Must-Visit Museums from Around the World
Clockwise from left to right: The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, England; Kunsthaus Art Museum, Zurich, Switzerland; Museum of the Future, Dubai, U.A.E. and The Metropolitan Museum Of Art.

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

The Met is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world. With over two million works of art spanning 5,000 years, the Met presents the best of human creativity from around the globe. Its European paintings are stunning: works by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, Rodin, and other luminaries. The Egyptian Collection showcases the tomb of Perneb (circa 2440 B.C.) and the exquisite Temple of Dendur (circa 23-10 B.C.). The American Wing contains American arts and crafts

The British Museum, London, England

Britain’s largest museum looks after the national collection of archaeology and ethnography—more than eight million objects ranging from prehistoric bones to chunks of Athens’ Parthenon, from whole Assyrian palace rooms to exquisite gold jewels. The Egyptian gallery boasts the world’s second finest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside Egypt, including the Rosetta Stone, carved in 196 B.C.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is a paradise, not merely because it holds the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings in the world, but also because it tells his tragic life story through every artwork on display, and through the letters he exchanged with his brother, Theo. The seasoned eye will catch the most famed of the artist’s work here—”Sunflower,” “Almond Blossoms” and “The Potato Ears.”

Must-Visit Museums from Around the World
Clockwise from left to right: The British Museum, London, England; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York, U.S.A and The Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Italy.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York, U.S.A

After five long years of planning and half-a-billion dollars spent, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) got an exquisite facelift in 2019 that only seemed to add to its reputation of being one of the world’s largest curators of modern art. Home to the most priceless paintings like Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ and Pablo Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, the renovation has afforded MoMa with 40,000 square feet of extra space for a wider display of all genres of artists, integrated galleries for a more accessible viewing experience and large expansive glass panels to make it look trendy but sophisticated.

Must Read: 72 Hours in New York City | Travel & Food Guide

The Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Italy

The Musei Vaticani is an awe-inspiring complex comprised of twenty-two distinct collections, each more remarkable than the last. Within this vast ensemble, several renowned highlights stand out. The Museo Pio-Clementino captivates visitors with its magnificent classical sculptures, while the Raphael Rooms astonish with entire chambers adorned by the masterful brushstrokes of Raphael. The Pinacoteca, a treasure trove of medieval and Renaissance paintings, proudly displays the finest selection from the Vatican’s prestigious collection. And, of course, one cannot overlook the iconic Sistine Chapel, adorned with the unparalleled artistic genius of Michelangelo.

The Partition Museum, Amritsar

The Partition Museum, Amritsar
Photo Credit: The Partition Museum, Amritsar

En route to the famed Golden Temple in Amritsar, a stroll through the Town Hall will have you stumbling by a brick archway, where a white board that reads ‘Partition Museum’ will catch your eye. Inside too, the museum holds a simple elegance—its seven galleries offering a chance to witness, through archives, the India that was partitioned in 1947. Newspaper clippings, original video footage and most importantly, letters—describe the collective grief that plagued the country when the boundary line was drawn; of the families and friends that were torn apart on either side of the border. 

The Ultimate LA Museum Trail, U.S.A

10 Must-Visit Museums from Around the World
The Broad Museum in Los Angeles has a collection of contemporary art from the 1950s to the present. Photo iStock

Los Angeles is packed with hundreds of cultural spaces. There are the iconic institutions that are worth a trip in their own right: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Broad Museum, the Getty Center, and Griffith Observatory. Then there are temporary exhibitions, eclectic personal collections and historic homes, exploring everything from death to disgusting food. Robby Gordon, a former veterinarian, showcases his collection of art (think yarn art, colourful mannequins and bulldogs) on the walls and ceilings, in passages and in the bathroom of Hollywood Sculpture Garden in Hollywood Hills. At The Museum of Jurassic Technology, there are letters to the astronomers at Mt. Wilson Observatory, the string game cat’s cradle and its collectors, micro-mosaics, and collections from LA trailer parks. The Broad houses one of the world’s most prominent collections of postwar and contemporary art. There’s Jeff Koons’ giant balloon animals, Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Can,” and a corner for Roy Lichtenstein’s pop-art.

Also Read: City Guide: The Best New Places to Eat, Sleep, and Sightsee in Los Angeles

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