Just as our homes provide insight into who we are and where we’ve been, through all the beautiful and meaningful things we collect and put on display, museums act as a window to the world around us. From ancient artefacts and billion-year-old fossils to rare treasures and art that spans the periods, masterpieces grace the halls of museums around the world, offering us understanding and safeguarding that knowledge for future generations to enjoy. Today we’re taking a look at some of the best museums around the world, home to some of the oldest, largest and most important collections on the planet.
One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, the Hermitage Museum is fascinating for both what’s inside and what’s on the outside. A spectacular collection of world art spanning over 3 million pieces, it’s scattered across seven beautiful and grand historic buildings by the river Neva – including the Winter Palace, a former home to Russian emperors. Wander past priceless works by Michealangelo, van Gogh and Picasso amongst the 120 rooms of Western European art, glimpse pieces from Nicholas II’s private collection, and don’t miss the Eurasian and Oriental masterpieces in the Treasure Gallery.
For the last two centuries, world-famous artworks and displays have called the Louvre home. But even before it was a museum, the Louvre was a medieval fortress and the royal palace of French kings – making it all the more spectacular to visit. Touting some of the most important collections in the world, including incredible exhibits hailing from ancient Egypt, classical Greece and medieval Europe, it’s a must-see attraction on any trip to Paris. It also has one of the most famous paintings of all-time on display, which travellers flock here to see: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Telling the tales of human history and culture across the globe throughout time, the British Museum can take you around the world in one building in bustling London. Established in 1753, the museum touts over seven million pieces hailing from every continent. There’s simply no better way to get acquainted with world events and cultures over time than through the creative art and historic relics on show here, from indigenous Australian art to the stone carvings of Mexico’s ancient civilisations. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering hieroglyphs, and the Parthenon Gallery. To see absolutely everything though, it would take at least a week.
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The Smithsonian Institution isn’t just one museum – it’s the largest museum and research complex on the planet. Detailing the colourful history of America and beyond, a whopping 17 of the 19 museums and galleries on offer call Washington DC home. The National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum are just a few of the highlights, all set around the beautiful Smithsonian Gardens. From an 80-foot dinosaur skeleton to modern spacecraft relics, there are over 137 million pieces on display so believe us when we say it’s impossible to see it all.
The world’s largest collection of Chinese artefacts and artworks adorn the halls of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. There are so many pieces that only a fraction can be put on display at one time. Admire the works of beautiful Chinese paintings, bronze sculptures, oracle bones, jewellery and other cultural treasures spanning thousands of years. Absolute must-see items include the fascinating pieces from the Forbidden Palace in Beijing.
For a taste of ancient Egypt in the midst of bustling modern-day Cairo, the Egyptian Museum has no shortage of artefacts, royal mummies and beguiling jewels. With the majority of the 160,000 objects hailing from the pharaonic era, it’s fascinating to say the least. Explore the ground floor collections in chronological order for a taste of Egypt’s rich history spanning the centuries, then browse the upper level by tomb or category. From the treasures of Tutankhamen to rare portraits, there’s nowhere better in the world to delve into the stories and riches of Egypt.
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