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America’s Top 11 Museums Await Exploration!

What are the key characteristics of a good museum? It provides the perfect ratio of infotainment, documentation of key moments of either our history or a particular industry, and helps its visitors build a narrative around the exhibits. A museum is a beautiful repository of art, culture, history and more. And the United States of America is the foremost country in having some of the best museums in place. Especially now that the pandemic is over, and the tourism industry is back on its feet again, America is one of the most visited places in the world. With it, the museum sector is booming once again with the footfall drastically increasing for all of its popular museums in the country. Here we have 11 of the best museums in the United States of America.

1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art : The MET

About The Met - The Metropolitan Museum of Art
About The Met – The Metropolitan Museum of Art| Courtesy: MET

It is the largest art museum in the country and the fourth largest in the world. The museum houses more than 1.5 million artefacts and has been one most frequently visited museums in the world in the past one year. Founded in 1880, the vast museum occupies more than two million square feet over 11.5 acres in Central Park and welcomes more than 4 million people a year. 36,000 artifacts make up its extensive collection, which spans 5,000 years of art history from the ancient era to the present. 2,500 paintings by European Old Masters, Impressionists, and Post-Impressionists are among these treasures, along with the largest collection of Egyptian artwork and artifacts outside of Cairo, which includes the whole Temple of Dendur. The Costume Institute, the American and Lehmann Wings, and the Rooftop Garden, which provides stunning views of the Park and Midtown cityscape, are some of The Met’s main attractions. In addition, the museum’s 29 well chosen period rooms enthral visitors.

2. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York City

Why the American Museum of Natural History Needs to Change — Empire State Tribune
AMNH, New York City — Courtesy: Empire State Tribune

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is one of the largest and most renowned museums in the world. Located in New York City, it was founded in 1869 and has since become a centre for scientific research, education, and public understanding of natural history. The museum is famous for its extensive collections, which include over 33 million specimens spanning a wide range of disciplines such as anthropology, paleaontology, zoology, and geology.

3. The J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

J. Paul Getty Museum - Wikipedia
J. Paul Getty Museum | Courtesy: Wikipedia

Oil magnate J. Paul Getty founded the J. Paul Getty Museum, a museum and research facility, to house his art collections. It consists of the Getty Villa and the Getty Center, two places in Los Angeles. The latter features international photography and European art, while the former includes an antiquity collection. J. Paul Getty’s collection of European paintings, sculptures, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the 20th century was housed in the Getty Museum. International photos from the late 1830s to the present are also included. His taste for French furniture and paintings from the Renaissance and Baroque eras is evident in the collections. The Getty Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, and the Getty Conservation Institute are also housed within the Getty.

4. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C

National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC is the most popular US art museum for first time since 2008
National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC is the most popular US art museum for first time since 2008 | Courtesy: The Art Newspaper

One of the best museums in the world, the National Gallery of Art, maintains, gathers, displays, and promotes understanding of art at the highest levels of academic and museum standards. Approximately 141,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photos, sculptures, decorative arts, and new media that chart the evolution of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present are housed in the Gallery’s collection.

5. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) | History, Collection, & Facts | Britannica
Entrance to MoMA in New York City.| Courtesy: Henryart/Fotolia

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has been redefining the museum in modern Western culture ever since it opened its doors in 1929. Once Nazism spread throughout Germany in the 1930s and Hitler began denouncing what he considered to be “degenerate art,” MoMA became one of the few locations globally to see a broad range of European avant-garde work, solidifying its status as an essential cultural institution. When the heart of the art world moved from Paris to New York in the middle of the 20th century, MoMA’s renown grew in numerous ways during the ensuing decades.

Since modernism’s definition is always evolving, MoMA’s founders originally intended for it to be a place where modern art could come and go. Although they didn’t establish a permanent collection until 1952, it has since grown to house some of the world’s best examples of avant-garde painting, sculpture, film, and multi-media art.

6. Philadelphia Museum of Art

In Pictures: See How Starchitect Frank Gehry 'Reimagined' the Philadelphia Museum of Art With a Brand-New $233 Million Expansion
Philadelphia Museum of Art| Courtesy: Artnet

Among the biggest and most significant art museums in the country is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. With over 225,000 items, it showcases over 2,000 years of human progress in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the US. Masterworks by Impressionists, a Japanese teahouse, an Indian temple hall, a gallery honouring Philadelphia native Thomas Eakins, and historic chambers from buildings in Paris, London, Beijing, and other places are just a few of the museum’s numerous treasures. However, two of Marcel Duchamp’s greatest masterworks, Étant donnés and The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, are what many find so intriguing about this museum.

7. The Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago: Free Days, Hours, Tickets
Art Institute of Chicago| Courtesy: Time Out

One of the oldest museums in the United States, the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection attests to its historical reputation as one of the greatest in the world. Two bronze lions created by artist Edward Kemeys greet guests to the museum; their unofficial “names” are “on the prowl” for the north lion and “stands in an attitude of defiance” for the south lion. In addition, the museum features an indoor courtyard restaurant and sculpture gardens that were started in the 1960s thanks to a bequest made by Mrs. Stanley McCormick. The museum houses a sizeable collection of artwork in addition to being close to other popular Windy City sites including Crown Fountain and the renowned Cloud Gate, sometimes known as “Bean.”There are more than 300,000 pieces of art at the museum. It is renowned for its large collections of sculpture and paintings from the 20th and 19th centuries, as well as Impressionist pieces from the 19th century.

8. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the world's largest children's museum. - Life In Indy
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum |Courtesy: Life In Indy

It is the largest children’s museum in the world, spanning five levels, features amazing displays on dinosaurs, space stations, and a plethora of other topics. The focal point of the museum is a breathtaking 43-foot sculpture created by Dale Chihuly, which teaches children how to make glass (virtually!). Additionally, the recently opened 7.5-acre Sports Legends Experience is an incredible outdoor playground that features multiple fields and courts dedicated to major sports. It’s top-notch in the perspective of kid-friendly museums.

9. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum

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9/11 Memorial and Museum | Courtesy: Wikipedia

It is a nonprofit organisation in New York City, remembers and honours the 2,983 people who perished in the horrifying attacks of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, as well as those who risked their lives to save others and everyone who showed extraordinary compassion in the wake of the attacks, through commemoration, exhibitions, and educational programs. The Memorial & Museum bears witness to the triumph of human dignity over depravity and affirms an unwavering commitment to the fundamental value of human life by demonstrating the effects of terrorism on individual lives and communities at the local, national, and international levels.

10. Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney Museum of American Art at Gansevoort / Renzo Piano Building Workshop + Cooper Robertson | ArchDaily
The Whitney Museum of American Art at Gansevoort / Renzo Piano Building Workshop + Cooper Robertson |  Courtesy: ArchDaily

American art from the 20th and 21st centuries, mostly in the form of paintings, sculptures, photographs, films, videos, installations, and works on paper, can be found in the Whitney Museum of American Art collection in New York City. American art enthusiast and artist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney launched it in 1930. The museum launched its biennial in 1932. It is an invitation-only show that has persisted into the twenty-first century, showcasing important advancements and contemporary trends in American art. The greatest collection of Edward Hopper paintings in the world is among the more than 22,000 pieces in the museum’s collection. Notable collections of artwork by Agnes Martin, Brice Marden, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Nevelson, and Alexander Calder are also housed in the museum.

11. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts – Museum Review | Condé Nast Traveler
Museum of Fine Arts – Museum | Courtesy: Condé Nast Traveler

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is a cultural hub with one of the most comprehensive collections of art in the world because to its well-balanced collection. The Boston Athenaeum library’s art collections served as the foundation for the museum’s collection when it was established in 1870. By the 21st century, there were about 500,000 items in the collection. Highlights include the world’s greatest collection of Claude Monet paintings outside of France, the world’s best collection of American art from the 19th century, one of the best collections of Egyptian Old Kingdom artefacts in the world, and a sizeable collection of Asian art spanning from 4000 BCE to the present.

Big or little, well-known or obscure, museums provide us spaces to reflect, develop, educate, wonder, and experience. Over the years, few cultural institutions have maintained their significance as museums have. They protect and advance societal goals that are as varied as distinctive as the patrons. Without all of the ways that museums contribute to society, our world would be very different. There are many more museums in the United States of America, but these are some of the best. However, you don’t need to drive to far-off places to visit a top-notch museum; instead, you may visit the various museums in your community and become fully immersed in the study of your own history, culture, and arts.

Feature Image Courtesy: travel.usnews.com

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Art-Institute-of-Chicago
  2. https://www.travelandleisure.com/best-museums-in-the-us-6826638
  3. https://ceoworld.biz/2023/10/07/ranked-these-are-the-best-museums-in-the-united-states-2023/#google_vignette
  4. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/great-lakes/indianapolis/attractions/children-s-museum-of-indianapolis/a/poi-sig/1517138/361934
  5. https://www.officialworldtradecenter.com/en/local/things-to-do/9-11-memorial-and-museum.html
  6. https://www.sothebys.com/en/museums/philadelphia-museum-of-art
  7. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Museum-of-Fine-Arts-cultural-centre-Boston-Massachusetts
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