What is a museum? Museums are institutions that collect rare and unique artifacts that have historic, scientific or artistic significance. Their purpose is to preserve and display these items to the public for knowledge and information. Why should you visit a museum? Museums will expand your awareness and understanding, stimulate your mind and provide you a very enriching experience. Which museums should you visit? Here are 5 amazing museums that you will definitely not regret visiting!
Louvre Museum (Paris, France)
Palais du Louvre or Louvre palace in France houses the Louvre museum. It is a well known historical monument and a famous landmark of Paris. One of the biggest museums in the world, it is visited by an average of 15,000 visitors per day, making it the most visited museum in the world.
Philippe Auguste built a fortress in 1190 which was later constructed to serve as a royal palace in the 16th century. It was then finally converted into a museum which officially opened to public on 10th August, 1793. Some odds and ends of the fortress still exist in the basement of the museum. The Louvre Pyramid, a huge sparkling glass structure built in 1989, serves as an entrance to the museum.
The museum contains some very incredible art collections along with other antiques that are a visual treat for art lovers. The collected works include over 35000 items namely, Egyptian antiquities, near Eastern antiques, Greek, Etruscan and Roman pieces, Islamic art, Sculptures, Decorative art, paintings, prints and drawings. It contains works from the French Revolution, Landscapes, Napoleon artworks, Writing and Major Events in History. There are guided tours to discover the museum in the best way which last for an hour and a half. There are also many events and special exhibitions which are available for a certain period of time.
- Mona Lisa: The best known work of art, Mona Lisa is a portrait of a smiling woman painted by Leonardo da Vinci.
- Venus de Milo: An ancient state of Aphrodite of Milos, it is a well known Greek sculpture.
- Apollo Gallery: Opulent gallery with high vault and spectacular paintings, tapestries, ornaments and sculptures.
- Hammurabi Code: The Code of Hammurabi, a stele of black basalt, is a law code of the king of Babylon and a Mesopotamian masterpiece.
- Sphinx: Great Sphinx of Tanis, an Egyptian work of art, which has the head of a king and the body of a lion, is a must see sculpture.
- Winged Victory of Samothrace: The Winged Victory, also called Nike of Samothrace is a sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike.
- Napoleons Apartments: Walk through the Napoleon III Apartments, a brilliant set of rooms with sparkling furniture, decorations and paintings.
Louvre museum is located at Musée du Louvre, 162 rue de Rivoli, Paris. It is open every day (except Tuesday) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is advisable to book advance tickets to the museum; you can book the same from here.
Smithsonian Institution: (Washington DC, United States)
The Smithsonian is currently the largest museum and research center in the world. It includes museums and zoos, research centers, cultural centers and exhibitions. In all there are 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research facilities inside the institution. Today it has a staggering number of 30 million visitors every year which makes it one of the most visited museums.
This museum was founded in 1846 as “United States National Museum”. It was by funded by a British scientist James Smithson “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Another major donation was done for the museum by Charles Lang Freer, a generous donor who gave up his private collection.
The Smithsonian contains many museums like National Zoo, Natural History Museum, Air and Space museum, Portrait gallery and more. Collections consist of 137 million items in all, which include items from art and design, science and technology and history and culture. Apart from these artifacts there are 8.6 million digital records and 2 million library volumes available. The museum hosts special events like tours, demonstrations, workshops and camps. There are also fun activities like Virtual Dinosaur exhibit, Space Scoop and American History for kids.
- American History Museum: Most loved pieces are Star-Spangled Banner, Washington’s uniform, Jefferson’s lap desk, Kermit the Frog, Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
- National Air & Space Museum: You must see the Wright Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, Spaceship One and the Apollo 11 command module.
- National Zoological Park: Amazing animals like elephants, cheetahs and giant pandas.
- Freer Gallery of Art: Don’t miss the Impressionists’ paintings and the Whistler’s Peacock Room.
The Smithsonian is located at 1000 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20004, United States. You can visit the museums any day of the year except Dec 25. Admission is free; there is no fee for entry. Most museums in the institution are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For More details Please Visit the Site here
Science Museum (South Kensington, London):
The Science museum is a major museum in South Kensington, London. It has an average of 2.7 million visitors every year and it is the world’s greatest science and technology museum. It is a part of the Science Museums Group, which is a collection of British museums.
Established in 1857 as the South Kensington Museum, it primarily consisted of art along with some science collections. Later many science collections were added and now it has science equipment and resource material. It became independent in 1909.
It consists of 300000 artifacts ranging from old steam engines and ancient medicine to rockets and aircrafts. Human remains are also displayed including skeletons and mummies. In addition it has a vast and resourceful library which is used for research by academics. It develops touring exhibitions too, from time to time.
- Apollo 10 command module: The iconic Apollo 10 which was used for the journey to the moon in 1969 in rehearsal for the Apollo 11.
- Flight simulator: Fly in the 360° interactive 3D flight simulators
- Spacelab 2 X-ray telescope: 3.5 meters tall X-ray telescope built to fly over Spacelab 2 Shuttle mission in 1985.
- The Watson and Crick Double Helix: The double helix model of DNA structure made out of metal plates and rods.
The Science Museum is located on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD. It is open from 10am to 7pm every day and is closed from 24th to 26th December. Museum entry is free but some events and exhibitions are charged; for those you can book tickets online here.
Vatican Museums: (Vatican City, Rome, Italy)
From the name itself, one can figure out where these museums are. They are a group of museums located within the Vatican City’s borders. Last year it was visited by a very enthusiastic 5.5 million people.
It was established in the 16th century by Pope Julius II. The popes endorsed the collection of art and culture that they had and shared them through the museums to promote information to the public. Clement XIV, Pius VI, Pius VII, Gregory XVI were among the early founders who added artworks and expanded the museums. The work has continued up to Pope Paul VI who inaugurated the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Religious Art in 1973.
They feature the collections of sculptures and art which were put together by the Roman Catholic Church over the years aided by the popes. It houses a number of items from modern religion like Roman sculptures, tombstones, and inscriptions. Some of the sections are modern art, galleries, mosaics, uniforms and papal berlins and more. There are frequent exhibitions giving visitors an opportunity to see rare artworks.
- Sistine Chapel: Definitely one of the best parts of the museums, the Sistine Chapel, with ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and frescoes painted on the altar wall and side walls.
- The School of Athens: A very famous painting in the Raphael’s rooms which depicts philosophers including Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras, Euclid, Diogenes, Michelangelo and Raphael.
- Borgia Apartments: Pope Alexander VI lived in these lavish rooms which have been painted splendidly with moments from Egyptian and Greek legends.
- Gallery of Maps: Hall containing imprtant maps painted on the walls in the room and a grand decorated ceiling.
The Vatican museums are located at Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma, Italy. Open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. You book tickets online for individual visitors as well as group tours and guided tours from here.
National Palace Museum: (Taipei, Republic of China)
The National palace museum located in Taipei, Republic of China, is one of the largest museums in the world with 4.5 million annual visitors.
The museum officially opened on October 10, 1925 as the Palace Museum in Beijing. It contained the valuables of the Royal Family. From 1933 the collections were moved to Shanghai and thereafter to Nanjing in 1936. After the Chinese Civil War, the artifacts were finally moved to Taiwan. In August 1965, a museum named National Palace Museum was constructed in Taipei which has since maintained and displayed the collections of the Palace museum.
Artifacts from 10,000 years of Chinese history are maintained in this museum. 696,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts are housed there. The collections include carvings, coins, enamel wears, paintings, tapestries, rare books, religious implements, curios and much more. There are works from Painting and Calligraphy, Precious Crafts, Decorated Porcelains, Chinese Bronzes, jades and ceramics. There is a library building which holds resources for learning and research. There are various gallery tours for individuals and groups organized by the museum which are in Chinese and English.
For More details Please visit here
Antiques: Zong Zhou Zhong (musical instrument), jade cabbage (jadeite carved into cabbage), Carved Olive-stone Boat.
Paintings: A very beautiful painting, Qing Palace version” of the Along the River During the Qingming Festival.
Books and documents: Jiu Manzhou Dang are Manchu archives and court archives.
The museum is open every day from 08:30am to 6:30pm throughout the year.
All these museums are extremely popular and very informative. So next time when you are in these towns, make sure you don’t miss the chance to spend a day there. It’s surely a better option than going to a mall or the cinema; it’s a much more extraordinary trip. Take your kids too; you will have a memorable experience!
For more information and details like transport facilities and updated timings visit the official websites: