10 Most Iconic and Admired Museums in the World

Most people who love to travel enjoy visiting places to take in a new culture. What better way to learn about the cities you are in and the people who have made them what they are today than by visiting a museum? Here are the ten most iconic and admired museums in the world. 

1. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Fountain at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City is the largest art museum in the United States. Presenting over five thousand years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy, the museum lives in two iconic sites in New York City: The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters. Art comes alive daily in the museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing new ideas and unexpected connections across time and cultures.

2. Le Louvre, Paris

Paris, France - Sep 25 2022; The Louvre glass pyramid illuminated at night
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If you have not heard of this museum, can you even call yourself an art lover? It houses a painting you might have heard of—the Mona Lisa. If that’s not your style, there are other pieces of artwork to take in while you are here. You’ll also want to see the Delacroix and Dürer collections—plus the excellent ancient Egyptian rooms.

3. Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Street view of Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The MoMA was founded in 1929.
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The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is dedicated to being the world’s foremost museum of modern art. The collections are filled with masterpieces by the likes of Kathy Acker and Jean-Michel Basquiat, but that’s no surprise considering MoMA has been a major player in contemporary art history since its inception in 1929.

4. Acropolis Museum, Athens

The gallery of the slopes of the Acropolis from the (new) Acropolis Museum (level 0- ground floor)
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The Acropolis Museum has gone through multiple iterations since it was first planned in the 1880s, with politicians and historians proposing various ways to display the artifacts dug up by the Parthenon. These days, the museum is an airy, sleek exhibition space that will delight history buffs and idle tourists alike. Walk above the preserved ancient neighborhoods or peer at remarkably undamaged items from the Byzantine city.

5. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands - May 2018: A crowd of people gather around a painting by Rembrandt displayed inside the Rijksmuseum.
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With its forty Rembrandts and four Vermeers, this museum is unmissable if you are partial to a sullen seventeenth-century scene. The museum houses more than a million works of art, including a massive dollhouse collection. However, even if you have little time to spare, a walk through the Gallery of Honor will offer you a glimpse of the Dutch’s finest art.

6. Getty Center, Los Angeles

Interior and gallery of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Getty Museum), an art museum in California established in 1974
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In the Getty Center, you will find several of Van Gogh’s paintings and numerous Rembrandt masterpieces on its walls. The Getty Villa Museum, which is nearby, lies along the coast north of Santa Monica and displays ancient Greek and Roman art in a recreated Roman house. These two are very complimentary to one another.

7. The Louisiana, Copenhagen

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The museum, which brings together green spaces, architecture and art, therefore attracts many visitors. Copenhagen, Denmark
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The indoor collection at Louisiana includes pieces by Picasso and Giacometti. At the same time, the gardens are filled with works by the likes of Alexander Calder and Henry Moore. The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a must-visit for any art lover.

8. The Prado, Madrid

Entrance of the Museo del Prado (The Prado Museum), statue of Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, Spanish painter, Madrid, Spain.
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Terrifying works by Goya and mysterious El Greco portraits in The Prado will surely spark a conversation. You won’t want to miss the Velásquez and Hieronymus Bosch rooms, either. It is one of the most popular places in the art world, with three million annual visitors and an online presence that exceeds ten million visitors.

9. The Vatican Museums, Vatican City

Tourists at Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City, Vatican
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No visit to the Vatican City would be complete without visiting the world-famous Vatican Museums. They display works from the immense collection amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries, including several of the world’s most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art.

10. The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

front entrance view of the red brick Smithsonian Institute Castle on the national mall with ornate gardens and statues in front.
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The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum. It includes nineteen museums and the National Zoo. There’s so much to see that if you spent one minute day and night looking at each exhibited object, you would see only ten percent of what it offers in ten years.

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