Fascinating Museums Around the World

We have to admit that museums and art galleries aren’t always our first choice to visit when traveling because we like to see historic places as opposed to items collected and displayed, but some of the best are able to combine both. With that said, if you want to see some of the incredible paintings, sculptures, and antiquities, you will most likely have to go to a museum. We have been to many wonderful museums, some of them perhaps a little bit less traditional than others. In no particular order, here are some of our favorite museums that we’ve visited during our travels.

Walking the Vatican Museum Halls

The Vatican Museums in Vatican City – If nothing else, it is worth visiting them to be able to see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The museums themselves, however, are absolutely amazing and like most of the museums that we mention here, it takes more than one visit to truly take in everything that there is to see. There is so much to see in Rome and visiting Vatican City is certainly something worth making time to see.

Museum Center Hall in Cairo

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo – No visit to Cairo, Egypt would be complete without making time to tour the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. As with many other sites in Egypt, having an Egyptologist as a guide is extremely helpful if you want to learn as much as possible during your time in the museum. In addition to the sarcophaguses, papyrus hieroglyphs, and pieces of art, there are several dramatic statues housed within the museum.

Science Experiments at the True Equator in Ecuador

Intiñan Museum at the Equator in Ecuador – One of the things that we really enjoyed during our visit to Quito, Ecuador, was going to the true equator and participating in several experiments at the Intiñan Museum. The museum itself is dedicated to the history of Ecuador with several exhibits about the cultures of the people of the Amazon. Although there are several exhibits regarding the people, animals, and plants of the jungle, the main attraction of the museum are the various science experiments that are a hands on experience for those that visit the museum.

The Louvre

The Louvre in Paris, France – Needless to say, one should not go to Paris without visiting the Louvre. It is definitely a museum that you could visit a hundred times and always see and find something new. Of course there is the Mona Lisa, which draws huge lines to see, but there is so much more. Paintings, statues, and other works of art from all of the masters such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, and Rembrandt, just to name a few.

Artwork at DakshinaChitra

DakshinaChitra Cultural Living Museum in Southern India – Located outside of Chennai, the DakshinaChitra is a living museum that depicts life, art, culture, and architecture of Southern India, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. DakshinaChitra features 18 authentic historical houses that were deconstructed from their original region and then reconstructed by artisans from the region on the grounds of the museum. Each of the houses features exhibits that represent the region’s art and daily life. Although we visited during an off time, the museum features typical artisans and performers from the various regions that you can interact with, thus making it a living museum.

The Night Watch by Rembrandt

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – Although we only had a couple of days in Amsterdam, one of the places that we wanted to visit was the Rijksmuseum.  It is the Dutch National Museum and is dedicated to the arts and history of the Netherlands. It is also the largest art museum in the country and it displays more than 8,000 pieces. The building itself is actually quite beautiful and first opened its doors in 1885.

Michelangelo’s David

Galleria Dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy – There is more to the Accademia Gallery in Florence than just Michelangelo’s David. Florence was the center of the art world for hundreds of years and still contains incredible paintings and statues to be admired. In addition to the statue of David, there are many other statues by Michelangelo as well as other famous artists. Beautiful and sometimes haunting paintings can be found by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, and many more. Much of the artwork was commissioned by the Medici family and then later donated by one of the last members of the Medici family so that they could be displayed for the pleasure of everyone to view.

Main Museum Hall and Sue

The Field Museum in Chicago – We have visited the Field Museum in Chicago a couple of times now and have enjoyed each visit. There are several static exhibits as well as several temporary exhibits, which makes revisiting very worthwhile. One of the main reasons that we decided to go to the museum was because they currently have a Jurassic World Exhibit, which we had heard was really interesting. Unfortunately, it is in an outside tent that wraps around the museum and because of the sub-zero temperatures, it was closed the day of our visit. That didn’t stop us from fully enjoying our time at the museum, though.

Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. – This is one of our favorite museums, partially because we have several pilots in our family. From the plane that the Wright Brothers flew to the Space Station, the history of flight is truly fascinating. Obviously there is a lot to see when visiting Washington D.C., but if you had to pick a single Smithsonian Museum to visit, we’d recommend this one.

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy – Florence was the cradle of renaissance art for several centuries, so it is no surprise that it hosts one of the most famous museums in the world for renaissance art, the Uffizi Gallery. The Medici family was renowned for their patronage of the arts and commissioned many great works of art from artists such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Machiavelli. After the family died out, a deal was made to give all of their art to the city of Florence and the Uffizi Gallery is home to many of those works.

The Fascinating Immersive Van Gogh Experience in Denver, Colorado

There is probably no more creative art exhibition touring the world right now than that of the Immersive Van Gogh Experience. If you haven’t personally gone to the exhibit, you’ve likely heard of it and probably heard people raving about the experience. We weren’t completely sure of what to expect, but all we knew was that it was supposed to be like you were literally inside of one of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous paintings, but the actual experience is something even more unique. The artwork seems to come alive as it surrounds you on the walls and floors while you are mesmerized by the ever-changing images.

People Enjoying the Immersive Van Gogh Experience
Visually Stunning
Very Colorful

At some points of the exhibition, you would watch sketches slowly transform to finished paintings. At other times, you would watch as the skies and fields of flowers and plants swirled as if the painting had come to life. Unlike going to a museum where you walk around the giant halls in order to see the different paintings, here you stay in a single spot and watch as the artwork transforms all around you. Even if you aren’t the type of person who likes to go and see the artwork of famous artists, you will likely enjoy this experience as it is so unique.

Truly Setting the Mood
Artwork on the Floors as Well as the Walls
Dark and Brooding Artwork

The exhibition has been so popular worldwide that there is already a different exhibition that has started to premier featuring the art of Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican artist. The Immersive Van Gogh Experience sold out months in advance, so we were glad that we purchased our tickets well in advance. When purchasing a ticket, you will pick an available hour window for you to enjoy the experience. The show itself lasts about 40 minutes, so you don’t necessarily need to arrive at the exact hour or stay for the entire hour that you are allotted. It was definitely something that we truly enjoyed.

Feeling the Movement
So Many Different Images

Visiting the Kazuri Bead Factory in Nairobi, Kenya

Although it is referred to as the Kazuri Bead Factory, it is really an artisan workshop where the beads for necklaces and bracelets as well as other pottery are created. Everything created by the artisans for Kazuri are handmade and hand-painted based on a preset pattern that each of the workers follow. In addition to creating beautiful jewelry and pottery, Kazuri provides work for mostly single mothers and provides free medical care for their employees and their immediate family. Buying items from Kazuri, which are sold worldwide, is really an opportunity to get some something beautiful and help the people as well.

Artisans at Work
Beads Ready for Necklaces and Bracelets
Clay Strips Waiting to Become Jewelry
One of the Kilns

It all starts by making the clay which is pressed into blocks, then cut into strips that are scored to create smaller squares. The soft clay is then formed by hand into different size beads for the jewelry, a hole is poked through the center, and then it is kilned to create the hard bead. For the pottery, the clay is formed into bowls, cups, plates, and other forms and then also sent to the kiln to be baked and hardened. After the clay has been baked, it then goes to another set of artisans who began to paint the clay based on the pattern that they are working with. It is up to the individual artist as to whether they would add the base paint, let it dry, and paint any details before sending it to the kiln or whether they would bake it after applying the base paint and then adding the details and baking a final time. Once it is baked with the color, the beads have the shine that one would expect it to have.

Rolling the Clay into Beads
Preparing the Beads for Glazing
Necklaces in the Store
Hand-Painting the Beads

The jewelry and pottery created by Kazuri is truly beautiful, but we were certain that we didn’t have the patience to do the detail work by hand that the women of the factory did. We enjoyed walking through the shop after taking a tour of the factory and we did buy a couple of necklaces while we were there. Taking the tour of the Kazuri Bead Factory only takes about an hour, but it is certainly worth the time.

Clay Beads After Being Fired in the Kiln
Pottery Waiting to be Painted
Putting the Necklaces Together
Pottery in the Store