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Top 10 Most Impressive Museums of the World

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by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published March 9th 2013
My Museums Bucket List
Avid cultural spirits, you have often picked the next holiday destination based on the number of museums to visit, and on their topic. Whether they are home to impressive collection, or housed by buildings with extravagant architectural designs, the world's museums constitute major tourist attractions. Here is my personal selection of the top 10 most attractive museums in the world:

Museum aan de Stroom Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium

Museum aan de Stroom Antwerpen
Museum aan de Stroom Antwerpen - Wikimedia Commons/Paul Hermans

The building housing Museum aan de Stroom is a modern ten levels cube located on the waterfront, in the heart of Antwerp's historic docks. With a Indian red sandstone façade, whose monolithical profile is animated by hand-shaped architectural ornaments, MAS offers the city's visitors as well as the locals a spiral ascension that provides a panoramic view over the city, at different heights. Inside the museum you can find ethnographic and anthropological collections.

The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

State Heritage Museum St Petersburg
State Heritage Museum St Petersburg - Wikimedia Commons/Dezidor

Located in the heart of St. Petersburg, and founded almost 2 centuries and a half ago, the State Hermitage Museum had time to gather a treasure of approximately three million pieces, which includes rich collections of ancient Oriental, Greek and Roman art, Islamic art exhibits, Renaissance Italian works, as well as 19th and 20th centuries paintings. Because of this impressive number of exhibits, the Hermitage is nowadays considered the largest museum in the world.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum - Wikimedia Commons/Tony Hisgett

Opened in 1997, the Guggenheim Museum is dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The building that seduces all visitors by its strange shapes was designed by Frank Gehry. Inside the museum you can admire the works of Richard Serra, Jeff Koons' giant Puppy (a 13 meters high topiary sculpture made of all sorts of flowers) or Louise Bourgeois's famous spider Maman.

Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Louvre Museum
Louvre Museum - Wikimedia Commons/Benh LIEU SONG

From the works of ancient Greek and Egyptian artists to the Renaissant painters, the Louvre Museum is a hymn to the world's artistic heritage. It's central exhibit – Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa needs no introduction, but this is not the only attraction the Louvre Museum holds. Among the must-see things, we can mention the famous Greek sculpture Venus De Milo, Napoleon's apartments or Paul Ruben's Gallery. The controversial glass pyramid designed by Pei adds a touch of modernity to the original buildings.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Museum of Modern Art, New York
Museum of Modern Art, New York - Wikimedia Commons/stef74

Founded upon John Rockefeller's wife initiative in 1929, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, also known as MoMa does not surprise by its architecture. It attracts, however, an impressive number of visitors with the richness of its collections. Among Moma's exhibits you can find the works of Pollock, Rothko and Warhol as well as Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Picasso, The Starry Night by Van Gogh or The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali.

State Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia

State Historical Museum, Moscow
State Historical Museum, Moscow - Wikimedia Commons/Keltorrics

Retracing the entire Russian history, State Historical Museum is housed by a Baroque-style building that originally served as Peter the Great's medicinal store. Today, we can admire here prehistoric relics, manuscripts, an impressive coins collection (1.7 million items) and a large part of the Romanov dynasty's collection.

Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem - Flickr/lynnefeatherstone

Founded in 1953 upon an order of the Israeli Parliament and located on Har Hazikaron (Remembrance Mountain), the Holocaust Museum is the saddest and most touching such landmark in the whole world. Dedicated to the memory of the 6 million Jews (men, women and children) murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945, the museum is also known as Yad Vashem (a name taken from the Bible, and who conveys the idea of creating a place where the names of all the Jewish victims will be remembered).

Orsay Museum, Paris, France

Housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, the Orsay Museum is dedicated to western painters and sculptors of the second half of the 19th century. Impressionism is the main feature here, as the museum displays paintings by the greatest masters of this artistic trend such as Degas, Monet, Manet and Renoir.

Oscar Niemeyer Museum, Curitiba, Brazil

Oscar Niemeyer Museum
Oscar Niemeyer Museum - Wikimedia Commons/Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

Mixture of art and architecture, the Oscar Niemeyer Museum located in Curitiba, Brazil, is housed by a building that bears the form of a stylized eye designed by Oscar Niemeyer himself in 1967. This is why the landmarks is also known as Museu do Olho (Museum of the Eye). It focuses design and visual arts exhibitions.

Tate Modern, London

Located on the banks of the Thames, this contemporary art gallery took up residence in an old disused power station. Here you can admire the works of Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois or Constantin Brancusi.
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Your Comment
Congratulations on placing third.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2949 days ago
Love your article - you're brave taking on the whole world.
by Lucy (score: 3|1157) 3023 days ago
Thanks. I don't pretend it's an absolute list.
by Mihaela Schwartz (score: 1|26) 3023 days ago
The Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart Germany is amazing - I'm not a big car lover, but this museum is incredible with a history not just about the car, but about Germany itself for the past 100 years. For car lovers it is a MUST!
by m.lew (score: 1|66) 3022 days ago
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