Museums are a part of many travel itineraries, as they hold treasures that bring out our intellectual curiosity. Every year, the Themed Entertainment Association releases its ranking of the most visited museums worldwide. Here are the top 10 for 2018.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Established in 1937, the National Gallery of Art emerged as a philanthropic project of billionaire Andrew W. Mellon. Visitors can appreciate several kinds of art from different eras. Some household names include artists Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Tate Modern, London, England
Opened in 2000, the Tate Modern not only hosts important pictorial work, but also works from many conceptual artists, architects and engineers who have gone through an extensive process to exhibit their work here.
British Museum, London, England
The name is a bit ironic, given that the museum does not house many British pieces of art. It does, however, hold a very important collection of ancient art. Since 1753, the British Museum has allowed visitors the chance to explore world history. Here, visitors can study ancient civilizations from Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Middle East.
National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Out of all the museums the Smithsonian brings together, the National Museum of Natural History is the second most visited. Here you can admire over 125 million specimens of minerals, plants and animals from around the world. Plus, it houses the largest squid ever discovered.
Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, Shanghai, China
Located in Century Square, the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum offers the possibility of experimenting with all kinds of gadgets to learn in a fun and interactive way. Two of the exhibits that stand out are World of Robots and the Ecological Disaster Theatre. Clearly, it’s an especially popular museum for families.
Vatican Museums, Vatican City
A popular misconception about these museums is that they only house artwork from the Renaissance and prior periods. In reality, the museum also has a collection of modern art with works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Paul Klee and Salvador Dalí. These are, of course, religious in nature.
A fun fact about the Vatican Museums is that the 6.4 million visitors that they received in 2018 matches the number of visitors who went to Rome on vacation this year. Regardless of religious affiliation, this collection of museums is one of the main attractions for all visitors, right there with the Colosseum and Pantheon.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S.A.
Often hailed for housing the best collection of ancient Egyptian art worldwide, the "Met" is one of New York’s premier institutions. You’ll need more than one day to explore it, so plan accordingly.
The permanent collections include ancient works as well as photographic, musical and contemporary pieces.
National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
The National Air and Space Museum is the most visited museum in the United States. It was inaugurated in 1946, and was originally called The National Air Museum. Here, you can appreciate the most important aircrafts in history, such as the Spirit of Saint Louis, which Charles Lindbergh flew in 1927, becoming the first pilot to cross the Atlantic. And then there’s the aircraft built by the Wright brothers in 1902, considered by many the first airplane in history.
National Museum of China, Beijing, China
This vast building is located in Tiananmen Square. With 48 exhibition halls, this museum takes visitors on a journey through the different dynasties which have ruled China. It has more than one million relics.
The National Museum of China is also gradually increasing its number of visitors every year. In 2018, over 8 million people toured its halls.
The Louvre, Paris, France
This famous museum is still a must for those who visit the City of Lights. Aside from the Mona Lisa, French painters abound at the Louvre, as well as works from Flemish and German art schools. There are also halls dedicated to Spanish and Italian painting.
Like most French sites, the architecture is also a huge component of the overall experience. The Louvre is an incredible structure, complete with the glass pyramid that rests outside.