22 In Art + Museums/ Travel

Best Museums Around the World Shared by Travel Bloggers

I’m a firm believer that travel is one of the best educational experiences a person can have. Although getting into a culture or a place itself can be the best way to learn in a more hands-on way. However, museums are great for getting into the history, the art or the science of a destinations. I love visiting museums and I thought I would ask a group of travel bloggers what their favorite museums in the world are. This led to list of 39 spectacular-looking museums listed in order by continent and then alphabetically by blogger.

Asia

Asian Tours + Holidays – Napier Museum – Trivandrum, India

One of the most interesting places in Trivandrum, Kerala is the Napier Museum. The 162-year-old museum was built by the Britishers during their rule. Located next to the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, the Museum Houses Some very Unique artifacts and ornaments. However, the two things that stand out for me are the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma who is touted as India’s first modern painter and the Travancore Royal Chariot that used to carry the royal family of Travancore once. Beautiful designs adorning its metal frame and the wooden wheels give it a very archaic look although it is just 250 years old. You should Not miss the Napier Museum if you find yourself in Trivandrum!!

Bound 2 Explore – Hagia Sophia – Istanbul, Turkey

Once a church, once a mosque, and now a museum, Hagia Sophia is a must see when you are in Istanbul. Located in Sultan Ahmed area, it is easily reached by foot or by tram from central Istanbul. What I love the most about this museum is the history behind it. This museum also has so many collections of beautiful arts. When I was inside Hagia Sophia, I felt like I was transported to the era of Byzantine and Ottoman Empire. The building and the arts inside are truly amazing. It is the mixture of two cultures that represents two different time and two different empires. The blended cultures are clearly displayed on the wall and at every corner of the museum. Its significant place in history make Hagia Sophia a haven for history buffs.

For the Love of Wanderlust – Islamic Arts Museum – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Islamic Arts Museum has gorgeous displays of architecture, art, clothes, ancient weaponry and more. It’s a great look into Islam, especially for someone just starting to learn more about it. I got lost in the stunning geometric designs in the artwork displayed – each one was its own unique work. I also loved the photography exhibit showing photos of Islam today and seeing the varying faces of women, men and children who are proud to call themselves Muslim. I highly recommend visiting the museum before stopping by the nearby mosque, so you can have an even better understanding of some history!

Getting Stamped – War Remnants Museum – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

My husband and I have been traveling the world full-time since 2013 and we’ve been to our fair share of museums. Some museums impact us more than others and one of those museums was the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. I am not going to lie I am not a big museum person but this museum really hit us. I have learned about the Vietnam War but nothing will prepare you for the museum. The facts, photos, and remnants from the war really hit me hard. It isn’t a pretty fun museum to go to but it is part of Vietnams history and I’m super glad we went. When planning on which Vietnam destinations to visit make sure to spend at least 2 days in Ho Chi Minh.

Mum On the Move – ArtScience Museum – Singapore

The ArtScience Museum is an awesome museum-cum-art gallery in Singapore. the ArtScience Museum not only hosts an impressive line-up of major international touring exhibitions but is also is a striking and iconic feature on the Singapore skyline. Located within the famous Marina Bay Sands complex, the distinctive lotus flower design features 10 ‘fingers’ or ‘petals’ that house its gallery space. Each ‘petal’ has skylights to filter light inside, while the dish-like roof channels rainwater through the central atrium of the building to creating a 35-meter drop into a small reflection pool. This rainwater is then recycled for use in the building’s restrooms. The exhibitions held at the ArtScience Museum are always groundbreaking, futuristic and intriguing, embracing an eclectic mix of influences from art and science, media and technology, and design and architecture. A definite ‘must-do’ on your Singapore itinerary.

My Adventures Across The World – Israel Museum – Jerusalem, Israel

One of my favorite museums in the world, which I have visited recently, is the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. What makes it one of the best museums in the world is a combination of an incredible architectural structure, a fantastic exhibition of artifacts and objects that help get a better understanding of the history and culture of the region, and last but not least, the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept and which is located in a separate building. The 800 scrolls were mostly found in 1947, some were found in 1956 in various caves in the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea. According to research they date to around AD 132-35. What makes them so important is that they reveal the history of the region, and their obvious religious significance. I was lucky to had the curator of the museum showing me around and giving me a full story of the Dead See Scrolls. Either way, this is a special museum that deserves to be visited!

Singapore N Beyond – Peranakan Museum – Singapore

It’s no secret that Singapore has a unique history, culminating in today’s one-of-a-kind mix of cultures and religions. And part of that exclusive history are the Peranakans. The term “Peranakan” refers to people of mixed origins, namely the children of Chinese, Indian, Arab and European settlers who came to the Malay Archipelago to do business and married local Malay women. These couples are known as “Peranakan” creating a culture that is unique to this region of the world. I love this museum as it contains the world’s largest collection of Peranakan art, clothing, furniture and artefacts and is the best place to explore the vibrant Peranakan culture. You can also try Peranakan kueh (cake) at the True Blue Pantry and the True Blue Cuisine restaurant right next door for some authentic Peranakan fare like ayam buak keluak (black nut chicken) and jantong pisang (spicy banana with cucumber salad). If you are in Singapore and want to learn more about this distinctive cultural offshoot, you will need to visit this Museum that features 6 permanent galleries showcasing different aspects of Peranakan life including origins, weddings, language & fashion, religion, public life, and food & feasting.

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Australia + Oceania

 Global Goose – Museum of Old and New Art – Hobart, Tasmania

One of the most fascinating museums I have ever been to is the Museum of Old and New Art (aka. MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania. You have to take a boat to get there and the museum itself is located within underground caverns carved into the cliff side. It was created by a guy named David Walsh, an eccentric Australian gambler and art collectors. MONA also has a winery on site and hosts over 150 events per year. The strange collection at the museum is described by some as “macabre” and “ungodly” – but I found it endlessly intriguing. There is a machine that contains the same microbes as the human digestive system and turns food into excrement, a life size sculpture of the remnants of an 18 year old suicide bomber cast in dark chocolate, a room filled with video screens of people singing Madonna songs and a wall of plaster casts of vulvas. The art is organised thematically rather than chronologically, so an Egyptian sarcophagus might be displayed with one of Giacometti’s emaciated bronze figures from post-war Paris. The experience is unsettling, but thought provoking and intriguing.

Happiness and Things – The Robert Louise Stevenson Museum – Apia, Samoa

In Samoa they called him “Tusitala”, which means the “Writer of Tales”. We however know him better by his Christian name Robert Louis Stevenson. He is, of course, the writer of one of the most popular children’s adventure books of the English speaking world, Treasure Island. Stevenson, a native of Scotland, battled ill health throughout his life, so when he arrived in Samoa he was so taken by the mild and warm climate that he decided to relocate his family here. In Samoa’s capital Apia visitors can today explore the family home of this rather eccentric writer. Stevenson was a widely accepted member of Samoan high society, and he rubbed shoulders with royalty and took part in political discussions concerning the Samoan people. The house which is now owned by an American fan of Stevenson is in great condition and not only shows Stevenson’s writing room but also all the bedrooms and the expansive sitting room downstairs. Not just a place of pilgrimage for those who have came to love the writer’s literary work but also an interesting part of Samoa’s history.

See the South Island – The Toitū Otago Settlers Museum – Dunedin, New Zealand

The Toitū Otago Settlers Museum brings to life the early days of this historic region of New Zealand. The main focus is on Dunedin, which was for a long time the most important and prosperous city in the country. There are also lots of other more off-beat displays, including several rooms that have time travelled forward from recent decades. My favourite would have to be the 90s bedroom, featuring Nirvana / Pulp Fiction posters and retro appliances. The Toitū Otago Settlers Museum is interactive and fun — it’s the perfect place to visit on an all too common rainy day in Dunedin.

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Europe

5 Lost Together – Anne Frank House – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam may be best known for its red light district and bicycle culture, but make sure you visit the Anne Frank House and Museum if you are visiting the city.  The Museum is in the restored factory and annex the family lived in once they fled Germany.  It is here that Anne wrote her diary that has taught so many of us about the horrors of the Holocaust.  The museum is a somber, thought provoking place that you wander through at your own pace.  Walking through the rooms transports you back to Anne’s diary and their life in hiding.  The Anne Frank House is located on the Prinsengracht canal and you will need an hour to visit.  There are extremely long queues so make sure to book your tickets online in advance.  Although they recommend children be 10+, our 5 year old was able to understand and learn from our visit.

Beer and Croissants – Bastogne War Museum – Bastogne, Belgium

I am not a huge fan of museums, but occasionally I find one I love.  Bastogne War Museum,  in the south of Belgium, is one such place. Creative curators have developed an interactive, thoughtful, and highly informative experience to depict the battles of the First World War and the impact of all those who fought or lived through it. From the start to finish, visitors follow the lives of different people (a child, a teacher, a soldier) involved in the war.  It’s the re-enactments that bring all of the other incredible memorabilia and displays together into an exceptional learning experience. The museum also pays tribute to the American presence in the Battle of the Bulge via an enormous star shaped memorial.  A staircase allows access to the top, providing 360 degree panoramic views over the former battlefields. The town of Bastogne itself is a pretty one, having been almost entirely rebuilt after being demolished in World War Two. The American and Belgian culture sits comfortably alongside one another here in this town.  Tied together through a horrible part of history, forever remembering the huge human impact this war had on so many.

Birdgehls – Horniman Museum – London, England

Located in Southeast London, the Horniman often gets overlooked for the city’s better known museums, which are far more central. This means that you can go explore the Horniman on pretty much any given day, without having to fight your way through hordes of people. The Horniman is named after Frederick John Horniman, a tea trader and avid traveller, who collected souvenirs around the world in the 1800s. As such, the museum is stuffed full with a whole range of items – from musical instruments, cultural artefacts, to taxidermied animals, some of which had never been seen in England before Horniman brought them home. Most famous is the large stuffed Walrus, which Horniman bought from a Canadian hunter. The walrus is stuffed full to the point that it doesn’t have any of its kind’s trademark skin folds, as no one really had no idea of what a walrus should actually look like! The museum also features its own mini-aquarium, petting zoo and garden, from which you’ll have a lovely view of London’s cityscape.

The Crowded Planet – Cosmonaut Museum -Moscow, Russia

Before I visited Moscow last August I had been looking forward to the trip for ages so I knew I would love the city, but I had no idea that my favourite sight would end up being the Cosmonaut Museum! There are so many things to do in Moscow that the Cosmonaut Museum may be overlooked by first-time visitors, as it’s a bit out of the city center. Well, let me tell you.. don’t miss it! First of all, the entrance to the museum is one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen, looking like a rocket taking off, and the museum inside is full of exhibits detailing the history of Cosmonautics, including the replica of the MIR space station. I loved it!

For the Love of Wanderlust – Icelandic Phallological Museum – Reykjavik, Iceland

The is definitely my favorite museum in Europe just for the pure uniqueness of it, not to mention the giggle-factor. This museum has over 200 penises on display. Yes, you read that right, penises. Pretty much every mammal that lives on or around Iceland is included, even a man. It’s an interesting collection and along with the more scientific displays there are also memorabilia displays and even penises from characters from folklore like mermen and trolls. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Senyorita – ABBA Museum – Stockholm, Sweden

The main reason why I was patient in acquiring a Schengen visa for Sweden last year is the chance to visit ABBA: The Museum – PopHouse in Stockholm, Sweden. Growing up, I used to collect cassette tapes, dance to pop music and join my father at work (he was a Radio DJ). ABBA is one of my musical influences and I grew up listening to Swedish artists like Roxette, Robyn, Leila K and The Cardigans. Visiting the Pop House automatically brought me back to my childhood days! If you’re a big ABBA fan, you will learn interesting trivias about the band, sing and record a song in the karaoke booth, do your own remix, enrich your Eurovision dictionary, appreciate Swedish pop and a chance to perform with ABBA with their hologram! Don’t miss this happy place when you’re visiting Sweden!

Solo Sophie – Montmartre Museum – Paris, France

Paris may be full of museums; over 100 to be exact, but my all time favourite has to be that tucked away in the heart of Montmartre. Behind the Sacré-Coeur, surrounded by cobbled lanes and cute little cafés lies the Museum of Montmartre and Renoir Gardens. Bordering a vineyard, this museum was once the home of well known artist Renoir. Today, the museum is pleasant to visit and a welcome reprieve from the crowds of tourists that often crowd the front of the Sacreé-Coeur. Here, you can admire the paintings and wander through the gardens, just as Renoir would have done all those years ago…

Surfing the Planet – House of Terror Museum – Budapest, Hungary

There are many museums to visit in Budapest, but if you are looking for something really special, you should visit the House of Terror Museum located at the UNESCO World Heritage Andrássy Avenue. This museum was opened at the building that was formerly the headquarters of the fascist and then the communist secret police. The museum presents you in a shocking manner how the country was during these turbulent decades. Multimedia with lots of videos and music are used to present you the brutality of these dictatorships. The most terrifying part of the visit is when a lift takes you slowly down to the basement, where you can visit the cells where people were held and tortured. This fascinating museum should not be visited with small children, since some of the videos are very graphic.

Take Your Bag – Ulster Museum – Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ulster Museum is located inside the beautiful Botanic Gardens in Belfast, close to Queens University. It covers everything from Prehistoric to Modern Times (with an emphasis on Northern Ireland), but also delves into the topics of sciences and arts. You know these austere museums where you feel like you might get fined for just looking at a painting? Ulster Museum is not one of them: you’ll be prompted to touch things and use the many interactive devices scattered in the rooms to make your experience a more engaging, funnier one. Thanks to these tools, little ones and adults alike can find things that will interest them and enjoy their visit. And I saved the best for last: it’s free!

Travel Eat Enjoy Repeat – The Catacombs – Paris, France

I came across my favorite (or most interesting) museum during my last visit in Paris, namely the catacombs of Paris. Underneath the city, a part of the tunnels is open to the public and here you can discover an underground ossuary where there are remains of more than 6 million people. The whole time, from when you descend into the catacombs until you see the light again, there is an eerie feeling. The catacombs are dark, damp, and quiet. The awareness that you are walking in hallways of human skulls and bones is certainly different but also a little bit morbid. But I found it interesting how they put all those bones from the different cemeteries of Paris in some sort of public attraction. Looking at the skulls, it is not possible to determine who that person was before. It is certainly something special to visit while on a ‘romantic’ trip to Paris.

 Travels from a Backpacker – The Hermitage Museum – St. Petersburg, Russia

The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is one of the biggest in the world and whole-heartedly lives up to its grand reputation. Housed in a stunning building known as ‘The Winter Palace’ we were often more amazed by the rooms than the items displayed in them. The museum offers everything from fossils and mummies to the largest collection of paintings in the world. I don’t consider myself to be a ‘museum person’ and expected we would take around an hour to wander around. But we rolled out with the last visitors at closing time feeling utterly awestruck and exhausted. It is open late (9pm) on Wednesday and is free on the first Thursday of the month.

Wanderlustingk – Museum Van Loon – Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’re visiting Amsterdam, don’t miss the beautiful Museum van Loon. Tucked away on a quiet canal in Centre, it seems like a large canal house—but it is so much more. This museum is both a residence for the family and museum with a lush interior. It houses many beautiful antiques and gives a brief glimpse into life for the wealthiest families of Amsterdam.  The best part is the secret garden connecting the main canal house with the other side of the canal with a beautiful neighborhood cat.  It’s the perfect opportunity to take a breather to enjoy the best part of Amsterdam: the calmness that comes with sipping a fresh mint tea in an atmospheric setting.

The World As I See It – The Louvre – Paris, France

Along with millions of others, my favourite museum is without a doubt Paris’ Louvre. But my love for the Louvre goes beyond the fabulous art that lines its halls, like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. It is home to my favourite piece of art though, the Winged Victory of Samothrace statue, who stands centre stage on the museum’s grand staircase in all her glory. I’ve fallen in love with the building itself, once a royal palace. If you look past the statues and paintings you’ll find stunning frescos, amazing architectural details, opulent marble fireplaces, and other grand elements left over from the days when it was a palace. So, while you may have visited the Louvre before, I encourage you to go again and look beyond the art.

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North America

Always a Gringa – The Other Face of Mexico – San Miguel, Mexico

The Other Face of Mexico is a hand curated mask museum in San Miguel with over 500 ceremonial masks. The museum is owned by the LeVasseurs, expat living in Mexico for over 20 years. The LeVasseurs collected the masks by traveling around Mexico. They give the tours themselves and answered all of our questions. While you are not allowed to take photos around the museum, but there were plenty on display around the house that you are allowed to document. You must call ahead to book an appointment to visit the gallery +52 (415) 154-4324. The cost is 100 pesos per person and is donated to a local charity.

The Foodie Miles – World of Coca-Cola – Atlanta, Georgia

World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta might feel like too commercial of a museum, but it doesn’t make it less fascinating. Even a person who doesn’t drink Coke, like myself, will have a lot of fun there. From learning the history of the brand to watching the bottling process to marveling at the art inspired by the iconic soda – you can do it all here! But the most fun part of all, without a doubt, is the tasting room. As you probably know, Coca-Cola has hundreds of products apart from Classic Coke and they differ from country to country. In the tasting room, you can find five stations arranged geographically: Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America. Each station offers a range of beverages unique to that part of the world. You can drink as much as you like, just be cautious, because sugar rush is real!

Fun In Fairfax Virginia – National Air and Space Museum – Chantilly, USA

The National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays some of the Smithsonian’s largest and most impressive aircraft in two vast hangers. The museum is adjacent to Dulles Airport in Virginia, an easy day trip from Washington DC. A highlight of the collection, the Space Shuttle Discovery, was flown to the museum in 2012 strapped to a Boeing 747. Other impressive aircraft highlight the progress of commercial flight from the first pressurized Boeing Clipper Flying Cloud, which transported passengers in comfort with sleeper births and reclining seats, to a supersonic Concorde that crossed the Atlantic in just 4 hours. Hands-on displays, docent-led tours, and an IMAX theater get kids involved and engage aviation buffs of every age. Like all Smithsonian Museums, admission to the Udvar-Hazy Center is free, however parking is $15.

Gallivant Girl – Underwater Museum of Art – Cancun, Mexico

The Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA), is as its name suggests, an underwater museum which lies just off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. The museum houses 500 life-size sculptures made with special materials to encourage the formation of reefs and coral life. Founded in 2009, the project is a non-profit organisation devoted to conservation. Many of the sculptures depict aspects of human life. The algae and stunning reef formations around the sculptures make the facial features of some statues appear eerie and distorted. A visit to the museum is like visiting a spooky underwater world. The museum is one of Mexico’s most popular and unique dive sites, but you don’t have to dive or even get wet to visit the museum. Located at just 3-8 metres deep in crystal clear waters, the Underwater Museum is perfect as a discovery dive, or you can simply snorkel or take a glass bottom boat tour.

Honeymoon Always – The Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City, USA

I personally love art museums and no other comes close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  It is the largest art museum in the United States and houses collections from around the world. What stands out to me is not only the size of the collection, but the quality.  I went to the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, which has the largest collection of impressionist art and personally find the collection at the Met to be better.  I also visited the Picasso Museum in Paris and found the Picassos at the Met to be more impressive. Another awesome aspect to the Met is the cost.  The price is actually a suggested donation.  You can donate whatever you want to go in!

MidTNTravel – Frist Center for the Visual Arts – Nashville, USA

The Frist Center for The Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee was originally built as the Post Office in 1933-34 during the Great Depression and is nearly as beautiful as some of the exhibits that are featured there.  The Art Deco styling and amazing attention to detail make the Frist on of Nashville’s most interesting buildings. Some of the exhibits that have been on display there in recent years are: Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles, Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, Samurai: Way of The Warrior, and Secrets of Buddhist Art.  Rotating exhibits every 6-8 weeks keeps everything fresh.  Every time I visit I find a new reason to come back. Seeing the gorgeous exhibits showcased in this remarkable building is worth the $12 it costs for admission.

Miss Filateista – Mariposa Center for Girls – Cabarete, Dominican Republic

My favorite museum is the Mariposa Center for Girls in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. The nonprofit runs the world’s first ever Girl’s Museum and boasts many beautiful art installations that encourage female empowerment. My favorite murals are the ones of female leaders surrounded by hundreds of fluttering butterflies. Mariposa is the spanish word for butterfly. The Mariposa DR Foundation offers programs and education services for underprivileged Dominican and Haitian girls and teens. The best part is that the revenue that is raised from ticket sales to the museum is funneled back 100% into the charity if purchased from visit.org. It is an excellent chance to learn about local issues while traveling and make a lasting impact on underserved communities through this educational, cross-cultural experience.

One Weird Globe – Spear Hunting Museum – Summerdale, USA

We’ve traveled thousands of miles throughout the US to discover many places – I present to you today the most ‘Murican place I have ever come across. Enter the Spear Hunter himself – Gene (or Eugene) Morris. These are his kills documented and taxidermied – all five hundred plus – which led to his self-given accolade of ‘the Greatest Spear Hunter Ever’. One highlight is a jawbone from a boar – because as we all know, spear hunting a boar and the military catching Saddam Hussein are inexorably linked. (Just in case the text is too small to read: “13 Dec ’03 Texas – 2 boars at the same time the day they caught Saddam”). Visit yourself at 20216 Hwy 59, Summerdale, Alabama, 36580. Free admission, donations accepted.

Reverberations – Rodin Museum – Philadelphia, USA

On the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the shadow of the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art (where tourists flock just to run up those special steps, with arms raised like Rocky) is the Rodin Museum. The museum houses the largest collection of works outside of Paris, France by sculptor Auguste Rodin. Originally opened in 1929 and renovated in 2012, the museum is small but a delight to art enthusiasts. For me, I love the art as much as I love how it is shown off in this particular museum. Natural light streams in windows to show off incredible works of art: from marble sculptures like “The Kiss” to bronzes like “The Thinker.” Works are also on display outside of the physical museum building which, in spring and summer, shows off a lush and lovely garden of trees and flowers.

Street Trotter – The Isabella Stewart Gardner – Boston, USA

In 1899, Boston arts patron and coolest woman ever Isabella Stewart Gardner constructed a mock villa in the Fenway to house her growing art collection. She collected mostly European and Asian art and included the work of her contemporaries. She opened her villa to the public 4 years later, and when she died, her will forbade any future meddlers from changing a thing. Besides a 2012 addition, everything is the same as Isabella left it. All but 13 pieces remain in the same spots she chose for them. Today, The Gardner is half museum, half treasure hunt. Most museums hang helpful plaques with information about the artist and the work’s meaning, but the Gardner pointedly does not. If you want to know any background information, there are stands holding laminated maps of each room. You have to match the picture on the map to the piece you’re curious about and read about it there.

Tales of a Backpacker – The National Museum of Anthropology -Mexico City, Mexico

This huge museum is the most visited in Mexico, and rightly so.  You can easily spend a full day here, or I’d suggest splitting your visit across two days if you can!  The ground floor of the museum traces the history of man in Mexico, or MesoAmerica as it was known, from the development of the species through to the Spanish conquest, and the upper floor since the conquest.  Different halls around a central courtyard house magnificent collections of artefacts from all the pre-Columbian civilisations, including the Mayans, Teotihuacan, Oaxaca and the Mexica, also known as the Aztecs.  For me, the highlight of the museum is the Mexica hall, which houses the magnificent Aztec Sunstone.  This huge circular stone gazes down at you with dark eyes carved in the centre, and you can’t help but imagine the Aztecs worshipping their gods and making sacrifices to appease them!

Travel Outlandish – Musée Mécanique – San Francisco, USA

San Francisco is full of hidden attractions, but perhaps the best of all is Musée Mécanique. This arcade museum takes retro gaming to the next level with a curated mix of nostalgic classics and rare antique games. Sure, you’ll find pinball, skeeball, and the likes, but even more fascinating are the really old games. Here, you can pay a quarter to watch a puppet get beheaded or peek into a pair of binoculars to reveal a scantily clad belly dancer doing laundry. While there’s not too much to love about the tourist-ready Fisherman’s Wharf, Musée Mécanique is one attraction well worth the trip.

Travels with Carole – Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West, USA

The Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida, is where Hemingway created 70% of his literary works.  Hemingway’s Spanish Colonial house had the town’s first swimming pool and is now a museum dedicated to his life and work.  And the complex has become almost as famous for the large colony of six-toed cats that live there–all descendants of Hemingway’s own kitties.  What’s not to love about a museum that allows felines with fluffy tails to recline on glass exhibit cases?

Wayfaring Views – Pier 24 – San Francisco, USA

Pier 24 in San Francisco is the best little photography museum that no one knows about. Their mission is to provide a “contemplative environment” for viewing photography. They have an appointment-only reservation system specifically designed to limit the number of people who visit the gallery. So you don’t have to jockey with the other visitors to see the exhibits. And the gallery rooms are very large, which allows you to stand back and enjoy the larger pieces at a remove. Pier 24’s rotating exhibits offer a wide range of photographic styles, all of it thought provoking and inspiring. Visiting the gallery will make you want to go out on a photo shoot.

World Wide Adventures – Mummies Museum – Guanajuato, Mexico

Bumping up the cobblestone road we head into the hills of Guanajuato to an unspectacular building that is home to a large collection of Mummies. The collection, though fascinating, is at times scary.  First up is the fully clothed mummy of Dr. Remigio Leroy, then is a row behind glass of about a dozen standing mummies which is kinda creepy.  Next thing, we’re staring at the so-called ‘China Girl’ mummy with its original clothing. The museum came about quite by accident, when many deaths occurred as a result of a cholera outbreak as well as a strange local tax existed where the family members of the dead had to pay house their loved ones in the cemetery. Failing to pay the tax meant that dead bodies were exhumed and the burial place reused. This started the mummification process and so the museum was born.

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South America

For the Love of Wanderlust – Museo Inka – Cusco Peru

Although this museum can seem a bit kitschy it is actually a great compliment to a visit to Machu Picchu. I visited after going to Machu Picchu and found that it filled in some historical gaps. My favorite displays were the osteology exhibit (call me an Anthropology nerd) and the photos from Hiram Bingham’s expeditions throughout the region and discovery of Machu Picchu. It was really amazing to see how it looked when he found it.

The Secret Life of an Actress – Botero Museum – Bogota, Columbia

Bogota is an interesting city, full of contrasts. The old city center, known as La Candelaria, is surely the most charming neighborhood, with its colorful houses & ancient churches. In the midst of which, you’ll find the Botero museum, which is dedicated to the Colombian born, worldwide known artist Fernando Botero.The museum sits in a beautiful, white colonial building, with a charming & refreshing courtyard. The building is beautiful in itself & it’s a perfect example of south-American architecture. In addition to that, it houses a unique collection of modern art pieces donated by Botero himself to Colombia in the aim to spread the culture into the country. Not only you will you find a huge selection of works of the Colombian artist, going from painting & drawings to sculptures. But more surprisingly, the museum hosts many pieces from XX century artist like Pablo Picasso, Auguste Renoir, Salvador Dali’… just to name a few. Last, but not least, the museum is part of a bigger complex where you’ll find a coffee shop and Wifi should you need a bit of rest.

The Traveller’s Guide By #ljojlo – Museum of Tomorrow – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Museum Of Tomorrow, have you heard of it? Situated in the glorious city of Rio de Janeiro, one of my favourites cities on this entire planet and home to this renowned museum. I must admit I am a little sceptical of museums and I assumed I would be in an out of this one within an hour. However, I was there for almost three and was basically kicked out due to closing. Instead of featuring the past this museum focuses more on the future. The first aspect of the museum does, in fact, follow the journey of life on Earth and therefore goes millions of years into the past before transporting us to today. From there the museum gives us an insight on what may occur on this Earth if humans continue the way they are. The interactive displays help you second guess your impact on the Earth and highlights its beauty. It certainly opens your mind to changing aspects of your living to ensure future generations get to enjoy this planet Earth. PS – it has free entry on Tuesdays so no excuse not to visit.

Did your favorite museum in the world make the list? Comment your favorite below!

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    StephanieM
    March 29, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    So many great and interesting museums around the globe!! I’m going to have to add a few of these to my list for next time!

  • Reply
    Shaurya Jain
    March 29, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Icelandic phalological museum seems awesome. I wonder what a blast my friends and I will have if we are there!!

  • Reply
    mappingmegan
    March 29, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Such a fantastic list – I have to agree that the Hagia Sophia tops the list for me – we visited last year and it was incredible. Even more so now because tourism to Istanbul has taken quite the hit, so when we visited, there was no line and we almost had the entire place to ourselves. Far contrast to what we’ve heard from other people who had to wait in 2 hours of lines.

    Museums are a great way to learn about the history and cultural heritage of the destination you’re in 🙂

  • Reply
    Christina
    March 30, 2017 at 12:03 am

    I really enjoyed this post, Paige. Such a fabulous collection of quirky and unique museums. I would love to visit several museums on your list. The Cosmonaut Museum in Russia looks fascinating and the Mummies Museum looks rather intriguing.

  • Reply
    travelerettenyc
    March 30, 2017 at 8:30 am

    What an incredible list! I am a museum junkie, so I’d love to visit all of these museums. Sometimes I even like to spend all day–about 12 hours–inside the Metropolitan Museum because there’s so much to see there. I think the next two on my list would be the Frist and the ABBA Museum because I’m going to Nashville and Stockholm this year.

  • Reply
    joanna
    March 30, 2017 at 9:15 am

    I love museums and I go to as many as possible. But why so little in South America? They are the best of the bunch! Where is MASP and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires or Larco in Lima? my personal favourites in South America!

  • Reply
    Live Learn Venture (@LiveLearnVentur)
    March 30, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Wow — what a roundup! There really are so many fun and educational museums all around the world. I think when traveling learning is one of the best things we can do — and museums are a great way to do that!!

  • Reply
    Mica (@senyoritamyx)
    March 30, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Thank you so much for adding my ABBA Museum experience! This is a well-crafted collab post! – Mica of http://www.senyorita.net

  • Reply
    Raksha Nagaraj
    March 30, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    So many museums. Except for the Ho Chi Minh City one, I haven’t been To any and I would love to explore all these. Thanks for this amazing collection, I will bookmark it and visit each one of them.

  • Reply
    Cori Carl
    March 30, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    It would be so hard to choose a favorite museum!

    I’d never heard of the Spear Hunting Museum. America never ceases to amaze.

    For reasons that are still mysterious to me, they wouldn’t let me into the Israel Museum! I’ve never before been questioned by security about why I wanted to go to a museum — or questioned at all. But Israel is a strange country like that.

    I keep looking at cheap flights to Moscow and debating, but the Cosmonaut Museum really tips the scales!

  • Reply
    abcdefghizzy
    March 30, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    This is one of my favorite posts you’ve compiled so far! Sorry I missed out on the collaboration opportunity but man, just so many great new things to try on my radar! I have to agree with Getting Stamped that the War Museum in HCMC is one of my faves. Headed to Singapore next week and see that there are a ton of entries that should be on my radar 😀 Bookmarking now so I can appreciate this more later on!

  • Reply
    The Soul of Seoul
    March 30, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    LOVE THIS POST! I love museums. I mean, it’s amazing how much information is readily available and inspiration. I don’t know why so many people dislike museums. There are so many different kinds from art to history, design and more. There’s really something for everyone and the curators go to such great lengths to speak to their visitors. Love it. That one in Israel is calling my name!

  • Reply
    badfan
    March 30, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    I usually skip museums on my travels but sometimes if its super interesting like dolls, trains or something different/fun, I would totally check it out. Natural history museums are also quite interesting and educational and I find so many on this list I would love to check out esp the “The Toitū Otago Settlers Museum”

  • Reply
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
    March 31, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Wow, your list of best museums around the world is awesome. I was trying to look for a museum from the Philippines, but sadly I couldn’t find it on your list. Anyway, I really enjoy this blog and I learned a lot of amazing things from each of the best museums you’ve listed. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Reshma
    March 31, 2017 at 2:20 am

    Such a great list of the Museums! I have visited the one in Trivandrum and Hagia Sophia is on top of my list. The underwater Museum of Mexico caught my attention. It seems very interesting. I loved this compilation!

  • Reply
    Melbtravel
    March 31, 2017 at 5:23 am

    I love love love museums that one of my favorite places to visit. I wish I knew about the museum in Mexico when I was there because I definitely would of gone. Great post

  • Reply
    Michael @ Mile in my Glasses
    March 31, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I love visiting museums so much! Every time I visit a new country or city I like to check out the best museums there. It’s one of my favourite ways to learn about other culture’s/what’s important to each different place.

    Thanks for this brilliant guide to them!
    I hope you have a lovely FriYAY,
    Michael
    https://www.mileinmyglasses.co.uk

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    March 31, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    What a wonderful collection of museums. Each one is amazing and totally different. Each of them houses a lot of history, science, art and a lot more charming things. I love museums, as soon as you step into one, you are swept away into another fascinating world.

  • Reply
    wyldfamilytravel
    April 1, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Sad to say i have only been to three, but then again i have not been to the USA so that takes out about half of them to start with. Some great suggestions here for future visits

  • Reply
    runningonliztime
    April 3, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Hi Paige, what an awesome list! The ABBA Museum is now on my list of life goals. 🙂 I also wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award 🙂
    Here’s the link if you’d like to see: https://runningonliztime.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/blogger-recognition-award/

  • Reply
    myveggietravels
    April 3, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Has anyone mentioned the forensics museum in Bangkok? I find that museums tend to get a bit like churches.. all very samey.. but that one was like nothing I’d ever seen… so much gore you couldn’t help but be fascinated!

  • Reply
    Therie
    April 17, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Bookmarked! Amazing collection, a great variety of unique and fun museums!

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