The 25 Best Museums in the World

Last Updated on September 24, 2022 by Helen E. White

The Best Museums in the World: Throughout history, human beings have shaped what we now know as historical memory. All this artistic and cultural heritage has remained under the protection of museums, spaces where the life and experiences of past, present, and even future times are reflected, in just a few meters, or the particularities of an artist who breaks the defined schemes.

However, not everyone has the privilege of storing this x-ray of humanity. Only a few,  the most prestigious, have been up to the task to ensure the safety and dissemination of these works. Thus, every year millions of people set these places as a must-see along with other activities.

Best Museums in the World

The variety of types of existing museums is really wide. We can find specialists in natural science  (such as the Jurassic Museum in Asturias), technology  (such as the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum in Valencia), contemporary art  (such as the Andalusian Center for Contemporary Art in Seville), or history.

The 25 Best Museums in the World

It is not surprising, then, that society has wanted to pay homage in some way to the important role played by these cultural centers. For this reason, since 1977,  May 18 is commemorated as International Museum Day. From America to Oceania, passing through Europe, Asia, and Africa, this event has managed to get more than 120 countries to join the cause and the participation of nearly 30,000 different museums around the world. This date has thus become an opportunity to promote history, art, and culture and strengthen ties between societies.

The prestigious publication ‘ The Art Newspaper’  annually compiles a list with the record of the 100 most visited museums in the world. Among those selected, the country with the largest number of popular museums in the United States, with a total of 18. However, the city with the highest number of visits to museums in London, with a total of 10 of these buildings. In this gallery, we present a brief list of the most visited in descending order, according to the latest ranking.

1. Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA)

Next on the list is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in one of the most populous cities in the world,  New York.  The building has been in the Manhattan district since its foundation more than 100 years ago, specifically on February 20, 1872. According to the list, the museum receives an average of more than  7 million visitors.

2. Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum (Spain)

The tenth place in the list of  ‘The Art Newspaper’  is for the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, founded in 1992 and located in the Old General Hospital of Madrid. The museum focuses on a journey through the history of national contemporary art and divides its collection into three different stages. However, among all the exhibits, El Guernica, by Pablo Picasso, is one of the works par excellence of the museum.

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3. The National Art Center (Japón)

Its transparent wave-shaped facade is one of the many attractions of this museum dedicated to visual arts. The National Art Center is located in the city of Tokyo and was founded in 2005. It is the fifth national museum but, unlike the rest, it does not have permanent collections in its almost 50,000m². According to the list, the museum has received more than  2.6 million tourists.

4. Tate Modern (UK)

The British National Museum of Modern Art or also known as Tate Modern is next on the list. It is located in the heart of London, specifically in the old Bankside Power Station. Despite its recent creation, in the year 2000, the building has already positioned itself as one of the most visited museums in the world. Its permanent exhibition is freely accessible and you only pay for some temporary ones.

5. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

It is another of the great American museums famous for its permanent collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings with artists from all over the world. This other museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, also in the United States, must also be one of the largest in the world, but like the Metropolitan, I consider it overrated as second place on the list.

6. National Palace Museum (Taiwan)

The next most popular museum is in the city and capital of the Republic of China, Taipei (in  Taiwan ). The center has a permanent collection of around 700,000 antiquities from Chinese culture. Despite its creation in 1925, it was not inaugurated until after forty years, in 1965.

7. Musée d’Orsay, Paris

This Parisian museum contains a large pictorial collection with works by Degas, Renoir, and other renowned painters. Located in an old station, its facilities and collections are magnificent, although it is hard for me to see it ahead of the Louvre or the Reina Sofía in a selection of only ten museums like the one made by those on Trip Advisor.

8. Louvre Museum (France)

The French museum leads the ranking with an approximate number of visitors of around  7.5 million people per year. The  Louvre stands out for its collections that integrate fine arts, archeology, and decorative arts. It has some 35,000 pieces on display, out of a total of approximately 445,000. The building, founded in 1973, has an area of ​​more than 200,000 m².

9. British Museum (UK)

The British Museum was created in 1753 in  London, although it did not open its doors to the public until 1759. The center stores more than 7 million objects from all over the world, classified by their geographical origin.

You can find all kinds of curiosities from prehistoric, medieval, and ancient cultures such as the Greek, Roman, and Chinese. Its growth was so rapid that the museum was forced to carry out different extensions and to make services independent, such as that of the British Library in 1973 or the transfer of natural objects to the Natural History Museum in 1887.

10. National Gallery (UK)

London repeats its presence within the first 5 classifieds. This time, the  National Gallery, a museum opened in 1824 that collects some 2,300 works (most of European origin) between the years 1250 and 1900. The museum only exhibits pictorial works and leaves aside the sample of sculptures or other objects for different museums. According to the list, in the last financial year, it had an average of more than 6.2 million tourists.

11. Vatican Museums (Vatican City)

It is a set of galleries located in Vatican City, made up of thematic museums, monuments, and large gardens, as well as the Vatican Library. Having a collection of the Catholic Church, it is not surprising that his works have a large religious component. Some of his collections are very famous, as is the case of the sculptural group of “Laocoon and his sons” or “The Happy Venus”.

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The image shows the photograph of the Giuseppe Momo stairs, which lead to the Vatican Museums. This set of buildings receives an average of  6 million tourists a year.

12. National Gallery of Art (USA)

The National Gallery of Art was founded in the late 1930s in the city of Washington as a result of an act of the US Congress. This is made up of two main buildings, connected by an underground tunnel. The neoclassical design of the west building, the oldest and made up of columns and a large central dome, is reminiscent of that of the Pantheon of Agrippa in  Rome.

Both galleries offer an extensive collection spanning from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. In addition, the gallery has a 25,000m² garden with sculptures. It is estimated that this building receives more than 4 million visits a year.

13. Hermitage Museum (Russia)

More than 250 years old, the Hermitage Museum in the city of Saint Petersburg is currently the most complete art gallery in the world, according to the records of the Guinness Book of Records. The building has more than 3 million works of art, from the Stone Age to our current century. In the mid-19th century, visiting the museum was restricted to the elite and a special permit was also needed to enter.

14. Somerset House (United Kingdom)

We return to London city again, this time to present the Somerset House museum, a building built during the 18th century on the north bank of the  River Thames, which houses different museums inside. Of these, the best known are the  Courtauld Institute of Art and the  Gilbert Collection of Decorative Arts,  although its first residence was the  Royal Academy of Arts in 1779. This gallery offers different cultural events related to art throughout the year. contemporary. Records show that this building receives an average of more than 3 million visits a year.

15. National Museum of Korea (South Korea)

In South Korea, specifically in the city of Seoul, we find the National Museum of  Korea, the main building that collects the history of the country’s culture. With more than 300,000 works in its possession throughout its 295,000m², it aims to become the largest museum in all of Asia. In addition, another of the curiosities of the building is that its infrastructure is so safe that it is even prepared to withstand an earthquake of up to magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale.

16. Pompidou Center (France)

The Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture is another of the great museums that make up this list. In this case, we are located in the French capital,  Paris, where this building built in 1977 is located. Inside it, together with other centers, it integrates one of the most complete collections of modern and contemporary art in the world.

In addition, it also has a musical and acoustic research center, called IRCAM. Another of its singularities is, without a doubt, the architectural contrast of the building in relation to its surroundings.

17. Prado Museum (Spain)

Originally, it opened its doors in 1819 under the name of the Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture. Throughout its history, this museum has focused on the commemoration of the cultural and historical heritage of Spain. Bosch, Titian,  El Greco, Rubens, Velázquez, and Goya are some of the most illustrious painters who, with their works, bring the walls of the museum to life. In fact, its collections are essentially made up of the collecting of art-loving monarchs. According to the ranking, the Prado Museum receives an average of  3 million visitors a year.

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18. Orsay Museum (France)

Located in 1986 in the old Orsay railway station building in Paris. The Musée d’Orsay houses the largest collection of Impressionist works in the world, from 1848 to 1914, although there are also collections of Realist and Post-Impressionist paintings.

19. Museum of Modern Art in New York (USA)

It is the most important modern art museum in the world. Abbreviated as MoMA, this building opened its doors on November 7, 1929, in New York City. Some of his most recognizable works are ‘The Starry Night by  Van Gogh and ‘The Persistence of Memory by  Salvador Dalí.  The museum also has large collections of other modalities such as graphic design, industrial, photography, architecture, and cinema.

20. National Gallery of Victoria (Australia)

The  National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest and largest art gallery in Australia. It was founded in 1861 in Melbourne and since then it has collected a total of almost 63,000 works of art from different parts of the world. In it, you can find great collections of illustrious Australian artists such as Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts, and Charles Blackman.

21. Moscow Kremlin (Russia)

At the end of this ranking, we come to this impressive group of civil and religious buildings built along the Moskva River, the Moscow Kremlin. In total, it collects palaces, cathedrals, and museums throughout its more than 24 hectares of extension. One of the most important museums within the complex is the museum of treasures of the Royal Family, the Armory Museum.

22. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

I don’t know about this museum, but just for housing the Stone of the Sun and so many works of the Aztec, Toltec, and Mayan cultures, it already seems impressive to me and I’m looking forward to seeing it on my next trip to Mexico. I cannot comment on this. Have you visited it?

23. National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Nueva York

It is an impressive museum, both for the outer space where the Twin Towers once stood and the impressive empty space where they were, as well as for the complex dedicated to the memory of the victims. However, with all due respect to the late honorees, I would never rank it among the best museums in the world, although I do recommend a visit.

24. Acropolis Museum, Athens

It is one of the most important archaeological museums in the world and contains a very large collection of works from the classical Greek era, especially architecture and sculpture. Located on the acropolis on the remains of ancient buildings, it is essential to visit for visit to Athens to understand and discover with fascination the culture of Ancient Greece.

25. Vasa Museum, Stockholm

I do not know this museum that was built to house a 17th-century ship that has survived practically intact until today. The museum is on the island of Djurgården, in Stockholm (Sweden), and was built expressly to store a said boat.

As interesting as it is to see the ship, I don’t think its content is relevant enough to include it in such a short list above so many others that have been left out of this list of the ten best museums for Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards.

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