Museums are the custodians of our collective history, culture, and artistic development. They provide a gateway to the past, a window into other worlds, and a canvas for creativity to flourish. From ancient artifacts to modern masterpieces, museums offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse ourselves in the wonders of human innovation.
While different museums have different things to offer tourists, some come with carefully curated collections and exhibitions that easily win tourists’ hearts. Which is this museum for you?
An inquiry on a travel subreddit sought to know other travelers’ best museums, and here are some of the top responses.
1. Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand
This Wellington-based museum was the original poster’s favorite. Te Papa Tongarewa, simply called Te Papa, is a cultural powerhouse that celebrates the country’s rich Maori heritage, natural history, and contemporary art.
Its interactive exhibits and immersive experiences are sure to impress tourists, as they did the original poster: “For me, it’s Te Papa in Wellington, New Zealand. I was blown away by the diversity of exhibitions, and the standout things for me were the outdoor section (never seen that before!) and the earthquake exhibition. I regret not allowing more than half a day.”
2. Musee D’Orsay, Paris, France
When in Paris, a majority of tourists only focus on The Louvre. While it is a masterpiece and a must-visit, overlooking and missing to visit Musee D’Orsay is a mistake you should not make while in Paris.
Nestled along the Seine River, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris celebrates artistic innovation during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Visitors can marvel at masterpieces by artists like Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, and Renoir, all set against the backdrop of a beautifully repurposed architectural gem that was a train station.
“Musée d’Orsay in Paris is my favorite. 10/10. That 4th floor full of Impressionist paintings is awesome. You walk in, and GASP. Imagine seeing those paintings at the time as brand new paintings! Especially “Olympia.” She is looking at you so IMPUDENTLY, so challengingly. The paintings are so ALIVE,” read a comment.
3. Museum of National Anthropology, Mexico City, Mexico
The National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología) is a monumental tribute to Mexico and Mesoamerica’s rich and diverse cultures. The museum’s iconic umbrella-like roof shelters an impressive collection of artifacts representing the history, art, and archaeology of Mexico’s indigenous civilizations that would impress any frequent museum-goer: “I’m a big museum-goer. I’ve been to dozens, if not hundreds, of museums in dozens of countries and my favorite by a long shot is the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.”
4. Museo Nacional de las Culturas Populares, Coyoacán, México City
Museo Nacional de Las Culturas Populares is a perfect bridge between traditional and contemporary expressions of Mexican identity and culture. It showcases many exhibitions exploring the traditions, rituals, crafts, music, and festivals that define Mexico’s various regions.
“Don’t miss my all-time favorite when in Mexico, Museo Nacional de las Culturas Populares, in Coyoacán. Always my #1 answer when this question comes up!” read a comment on the thread.
5. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
The Smithsonian Institution is where tourists can go and marvel at modern human development over the years. While it showcases different progress humans have made over the years, the aviation sector propels the institution to one of the best places for tourists to go and experience history.
“The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. If you have an interest in aviation, it’s brilliant. The Udvar-Hazy Center is awesome. 10/10 visit. They got an SR-71 and the Enola Gay on display plus hundreds of other fantastic planes on display. This place is so full of awesomeness it made the WWII Museum in New Orleans seem very underwhelming to me,” said a commenter.
6. The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
One commenter said, “The Van Gogh Museum in AMS blew me away,”
The Van Gogh Museum pays homage to the extraordinary life of artistic genius Vincent van Gogh. Tourists to the Van Gogh Museum can witness the evolution of Van Gogh’s artistry, from his early works to his iconic masterpieces. The museum’s collection boasts over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters, offering an intimate look into the artist’s creative journey and emotional turmoil.
His emotional and mental journey is a rare collection, not something you see in many other museums. For this reason, it ends up delighting many of its visitors, as some commenters revealed, “Hands down the best presentation structure I’ve ever seen, showing V.G.s improvement as he acquired more skills, the adoption of traits from different movements and styles with time. The way the museum handled topics like his mental health and the way he passed was respectful and loving, but also courageous and direct. Unbelievably moving. My favorite single room in the museum is the Van Gogh self-portrait room. Seeing how his view of himself developed over years was fascinating.”
7. City Museum, St. Louis, USA
Previous visitors of the City Museum fancied how the place appreciates art, architecture, and exploration.
Tourists seem to appreciate the interactive space and the genius brain that went into creating the place, as one commenter revealed, “I’m just back to the U.K. from a family trip to Chicago and St Louis. I have to say the City Museum was phenomenal. A place like that wouldn’t get off the ground in the U.K. insurance purpose-wise.”
8. The V&A Museum
Situated in the heart of London, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is a haven for art, design, and craftsmanship.
The extensive art collection is pleasantly surprising, as one commenter revealed, “I just visited the V&A about a month ago for the first time. It was an afterthought on our itinerary, and I loved it! The rooms were all so different. I told my family that it reminds me of when you dream about a place from your past, and you keep finding more and more doors and rooms that you weren’t expecting to find.”
9. Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia
Seeking to break the status quo of traditional museums, the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, offers a deeply emotional and thought-provoking experience. This unique institution showcases personal artifacts and mementos from ended relationships, each with a poignant story of love, loss, and resilience.
It is the uniqueness that the museum offers and the emotional journey it takes the tourists on that puts it among people’s favorites: “Museum of Broken Relationships, in Zagreb. One of the most unexpectedly moving exhibits I’ve ever been in; just a wave of emotions. Bring tissues!”
10. Ballenberg Open Air Museum, Switzerland
Located in the picturesque Swiss countryside, the Ballenberg Open Air Museum offers a captivating journey through Switzerland’s history, culture, and traditions. This living museum sprawls across acres of lush landscapes and features over 100 historic buildings from various Swiss regions.
Being in the open air, it is another museum that breaks the tradition of what typical museums look like. Visitors to Ballenberg can step back in time as they explore meticulously reconstructed farmhouses, barns, mills, and workshops.
“ I LOVED the Ballenberg open-air museum in Switzerland. It’s a 50-acre park of reconstructed Swiss houses and buildings from all the different regions. They’re furnished, and you can go through them, and they have live demonstrations of old skills. Really, really cool!” said a comment.
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