While discovering a foreign country or even when you are exploring your own, visiting a museum is a truly enriching experience. You are able to get a feel of the country’s history and culture, and most museums also have collections from other countries. Museums are peaceful places that will provide a moment of calm in the middle of a tiring and exciting trip. In this article, you will learn about six unmissable museums that you should visit if you have the opportunity to do so. You will also find links to virtual visits, which will be very useful if you do not have the means to travel too far or if you are too impatient to wait for the end of the pandemic and see the art in person.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art or “Met” is the biggest art museum in the United States of America. The Met ranks high on the list of unmissable museums. It is situated in New York City and was founded in 1870. In 2019, it was the fourth most visited museum in the world with 6,479,548 visitors. In total, the Met contains 2 million items even if not all of them are on display. At the Met, you can admire art from ancient Egypt, Africa, Oceania, Asia, and much more. You can also see other collections with particular themes; there is an Arms and Armor collection, one for Costumes, another for drawings, and many others. There are also several libraries. You can consult online catalogs to request the material, but two libraries can be accessed freely: The Thomas J. Watson Library and the Nolen Library. This museum is absolutely a must-see if you ever find yourself in New York City. It is very easy to access with public transportation and the tickets are $25 for adults and only $12 for students.
The Louvre Museum or Musée du Louvre is the largest art museum in the world in terms of space. You could say the Louvre is the most crucial of unmissable museums. It is in Paris, France, and was established in 1793 in a historic monument. The construction of the building began in the 12th and 13th centuries and it was modified along the centuries. During the French Revolution, it was decided that the Louvre should become a museum to display the art of the nation. It was the most visited museum in 2019 with 9.6 million visitors. The museum contains more than 380,000 items, with only 35,000 of them on display. There are a lot of objects from ancient times, such as the Egyptian antiquities, the Near Eastern Antiquities, or the Greek, Etruscan and Roman collections. There are also more than 7,500 paintings and numerous prints and drawings. The museum is situated within walking distance from the Champs-Elysées Avenue and is right next to the Tuileries Garden. You can easily reach the Louvre by metro. A ticket purchased online will cost you €17 and allow you to have a maximum waiting time of 30 minutes. If you buy it at the Museum it will be €15 but you might have to wait for a while longer to get inside.
The British Museum in London, England is dedicated to human history, art and culture. It opened to the public for the first time in 1759, becoming the first public national museum in the world. It expanded over the years to become the enormous museum it is today. There were 6,239,983 visitors in 2019. The British museum’s collection is truly phenomenal, with 8 million objects in total and approximately 80,000 on display at a time. The collections document the story of human culture from different areas of the world. There are 9 different departments, some of them representing regions of the world (Greece and Rome, Middle East…) and others having a specific thematic such as Coins and Medals. There are also libraries with archives that you can consult if you apply. The metro will easily take you to the British Museum. The good news is that a ticket to enter the museum is free! Only special exhibitions and guided tours require a fee. However, you could always make a small donation to help maintain the Museum.
If you ever go to Saint Petersburg, Russia, you should not miss the State Hermitage Museum. It is the second-largest art museum in the world after the Louvre. In 2019, 4,956,524 people visited it. Several buildings situated on the Palace Embankment and around it form the Museum. Empress Catherine the Great established the State Hermitage in 1764 when she bought numerous paintings. However, it only opened to the public in 1852. Nowadays the collection contains 3 million items with only a small percentage of them on display. The collections are very diverse, from Egyptian and Classical antiquities to Jewelry and even Prehistoric Art. You will even be able to admire European fine art and you should take time to appreciate the Russian art to really discover the country’s art while you visit it. One of the Saint Petersburg metro lines will take you right to the State Hermitage Museum. A basic ticket for the general museum (without special exhibitions) is only 500 rubles which is approximately €5.44.
Le Gallerie degli Uffizi is in the Historic Center of Florence, Italy in the beautiful region of Tuscany. The galleries are on every Renaissance-lover’s list of unmissable museums. It is Italy’s most visited museum and known in the entire world mainly for its numerous priceless Renaissance works. In 2019, 4,391,895 people visited the Uffizi Gallery. The museum was established in 1581, but it opened to the public nearly two full centuries later, in 1765. In 2016, there were 101 display rooms, but renovations are being done in order to double this number. If you are an art lover, you will be blown away by all these paintings. However, even the people who are less experienced in the field will recognize some items. Indeed, you will be able to admire Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Galleries. When you are planning on visiting, you should buy an entrance reservation ticket in addition to the entrance ticket. The reservation costs €4 and allows you to go inside immediately when you arrive at your time slot. The entrance ticket is €12 at the regular price and only €2 at a reduced price for people under 18, students, and more.
The Vatican museums are situated in Vatican City State. This independent city-state is in the middle of Rome, Italy. In 2019, the Vatican museums ranked as the third most visited art museum in the world. That year, the Vatican museums received 6,882,931 visitors. Pope Julius II established the museum in 1506 but it opened much later in history. In total, the museums have a collection of 70,000 works with 20,000 on display in the 54 galleries. The most famous work that you will be able to see is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo. You can also visit the Pio-Clementino Museum, where you will find Greek and Roman sculptures. The Chiaramonti Museum displays statues, sarcophagi, and friezes. There is also the Gregoriano Etrusco Museum with Etruscan items that come from archeological excavations. You will also discover papyruses and animal mummies in the Gregoriano Egiziano Museum. Entry costs €17 but the museums are free to visit on the last Sunday of each month.