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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.