Collected by Bryan Kitch, AFAR Contributor
These museums are cultural and historical destinations in and of themselves, offering unique glimpses into time and place through innovative design and carefully curated exhibits. Go, see, understand.
225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA
The JP Morgan Library's grand, old-world elegance immediately transports you to turn-of-the-century New York. And at that time, there was almost no one more powerful than financier JP Morgan. He launched U.S. Steel and even served as the...
This was a gorgeous day and a beautiful site to visit. No other tourists there so we had the entire place to ourselves. They knew how to build a well insulated house back then, well protected from the wind and feeling also soundproof. The Glaumbær...
Gabriël Metsustraat 8, 1071 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at the Van Gogh Museum. Sunflowers, The...
99/9 หมู่ที่ 1 Tambon Bang Muang Mai, Amphoe Mueang Samut Prakan, Chang Wat Samut Prakan 10270, Thailand
Staircase inside of the second floor of the Erawan Museum in Bangkok, Thailand. The Erawan Museum is located in Samut Prakan Province (on the outskirts of Bangkok) and was built by Lek Viriyaphant, an eccentric Thai millionaire who was also...
Strandpromenaden 2, 0252 Oslo, Norway
The once seedy Tjuvholmen, or “Thief Island,” is the city’s newest arts district. Its showpiece is the Astrup Fearnley Museum, which reopened last September in an elegant, sail-shaped complex designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The open...
Twilfit House, 57 Jervis St, North City, Dublin, D01 R2P0, Ireland
With its tumultuous history, the Irish often had nothing but stories, tales, and conversations to carry their legacies forward. The tradition of magic, wonder, and imagination has been a gift passed from one generation to the next. As evident in...
Prinsengracht 112, 1015 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Just down the street from the Anne Frank House is the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. It feels more like a shop, shelves filled to the ceiling with a huge variety of Dutch cheeses, including the world-famous gouda and edam varieties. If you are strolling...
Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK
On its own, the architecture of the Natural History Museum is enough of a reason to walk through its doors one afternoon. The stunning archways and staircases create a grand backdrop to equally impressive exhibits, and you could spend countless...
Japan, 〒107-6290 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka, ９丁目7−６ 東京ミッドタウン・ガーデン内
Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake created this experimental design museum, and star Japanese architect Tadao Ando constructed the building. The museum always has great installations by artists such as the industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. —...
Calz. de Amador 136, Panamá, Panama
The Frank Gehry Museum of Biodiversity is finally finished. The guide on the Panama Canal called it a building from someone who has done too much partying in Panama. I guess he hadn’t been to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.(view from the Panama...
1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA
The Guggenheim Museum is a work of art in itself. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the building's iconic curved facade stands out on the orderly row of edifices lining its stretch of Fifth Avenue. Completed near the end of Wright's career (it...
Cerrada Las Golondrinas 24, Alfredo Bonfil, 77560 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
If you have a hard time convincing your kids that sculptures and museums are cool, you might change their mind when they find out that Cancun's most famous sculptures are in a very unique museum: one that's underwater. The idea for the museum was...
220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
The interior architecture of Chicago’s MCA building is worth the price of admission. Four floors of exhibit halls branch off the central staircase pictured above, and the East and West facing glass walls have unparalleled views over Lake Michigan...
Japan, 〒250-0407 Kanagawa-ken, Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi, Ninotaira, 二ノ平１１２１
This is the view inside the Symphonic Sculpture by Gabriel Loire at the Hakone Open Air Museum (彫刻の森 in Japanese) in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The museum opened in 1969 as the first open-air art museum in Japan. The spectacular grounds,...
4th St SW & Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560, USA
During three years of living in Washington, D.C., I made it my mission to visit as many museums as I could, and the National Museum of the American Indian quickly won me over. I was greeted by a live dance performance and welcomed into a circular...
Huk Aveny 35, 0287 Oslo, Norway
This small museum houses 3 unearthed Viking Ships and I found the history fascinating. I didn’t realize that the Viking burial ceremony was similar to the Egyptians. Their belief was that the dead needed food and drink (2 oxen were killed and...
2325 Boulevard Luis A. Ferré Aguayo, Ponce, 00717, Puerto Rico
While San Juan’s got the buzz and the swagger, Puerto Rico’s second-largest city, Ponce, just a 90-minute drive to the south, maintains a quiet dignity. Gracious municipal buildings exemplify La Ciudad Señorial (The Noble City), especially its...
137 Seobinggo-ro, Seobinggo-dong, Yongsan-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
The National Museum of Korea is the largest museum in Korea and houses a comprehensive collection of Korean cultural artifacts that tell the story of Korea’s fascinating history, from ancient days to the modern era. There’s also the Children’s...
Bilbao, Biscay, Spain
The drive along the Northern coast from San Sebastian to Bilbao was amazing, filled with windy roads through the mountainous passes overlooking the gorgeous cliffs leading to the ocean. The main reason for going to Bilbao was to see the Guggenheim...
Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
I'll be the first to admit, a museum of printing didn't sound terribly exciting to me, at first. Antwerp Belgium's Plantin-Moretus Museum certainly changed my mind. This is the only museum on the UNESCO World Heritage list and the recognition is...
1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
The Dalí Museum has a wonderful collection of Salvador Dalí's work. From postcard-sized paintings he did as a child to mural masterpieces, the many sides of Dalí's work fills rooms worth wandering. The museum offers a knowledgeable tour, has a...
Rue Montagne de la Cour 2, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
My favourite building in Brussels is the Old England on Mont des Arts, just around the corner from Place Royal. It’s a striking concoction of steel and glass in the Art Nouveau style Brussels is so famous for. But what’s on the inside is just as...
Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
One powerful and emotional experience in Amsterdam that shouldn’t be missed is a visit to the Anne Frank House. This home, where Anne Frank wrote in her diary while she, her family, and four others hid from the Nazis during World War II, has...
60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
A great way to spend an afternoon in Seoul: a good book and the genius of sculptor Louise Bourgeois at the Leeum Museum. A gentleman relaxes on ‘Eye Benches,’ while 'Maman' stands guard. It’s in Itaewon that Samsung planted the Leeum Contemporary...
Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
One of the biggest stars of the five museums on Museum Island, the Pergamon was the last to open, in 1930. Built to resemble a Babylonian temple, it houses a trove of ancient treasures from the Middle East, with highlights that include the...
Perdana, Jalan Lembah, Perdana Botanical Gardens, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The largest collection of Islamic art in South East Asia can be found in the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. There are four floors, spread over 30,000 square meters. Two floors are designated for permanent collections, while galleries in the other...
1 Rue des Unterlinden, 68000 Colmar, France
You'd be excused for thinking that this is a picture of Germany because it does have the traditional German style houses. It actually belonged to Germany for a brief time in history. It was taken from France in 1871 and was eventually given back...
191 Beale St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
It's said that Elvis recorded the first rock 'n' roll song nearby at Sun Studio. But to understand why Memphis was the perfect spot for Sam Phillips and Elvis to make that first rock record, a visit to the Rock 'n' Soul Museum is a must. The...
11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, USA
The Museum of Modern Art, one of the city's—and the country's—premier institutions for modern and contemporary art, first opened its doors in 1939. Its permanent collection of almost 200,000 works includes masterpieces by many of the...
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, USA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art—or, commonly, the Met—is one of the world's great museums, alongside the Louvre, the British Museum, and a handful of others. It would be easy to devote an entire week's visit to the museum alone, and...
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
This former royal palace is one of the largest museums in the world, and its art collection is considered one of the most comprehensive. It contains around 400,000 works, although—mercifully, perhaps—not all are on display at any one...
Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Wien, Austria
The Habsburgs were, generally speaking, lovers of art and many of the works of the Kunsthistorisches Museum come from their collections. While the grandiose interior alone may be reason enough to visit, the collections here are outstanding. The...
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