When you travel to a new country and want to explore its wildlife, you visit its reserved forests, zoos and national parks. But when you want to discover more about a country’s history, rich culture and heritage, you visit its museums(of course along with historic monuments, tombs, churches etc). Museums not only demonstrate a country’s own cultural significance, but often curates and showcases astounding creations and wonders from all around the world. The US is no exception. An astonishing amount of museums( approx 35K) are spread throughout its various cities and towns and there's some considered to be among the best museums in the world. Each of them has something special to offer, a unique story to tell.
So we have taken it upon ourselves to make a recommendation list of some of the best American Museums absolutely worth visiting at least once in your life. No matter what your interests are, be it art, history, science or politics, you will surely find something to your liking from this list.
1. Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Situated at the heart of the city, this museum is one of the top tourist attractions of the USA and a popular culture museum. Enjoy a pleasant evening here exploring a rich collection of art pieces acquired from all over the world, spanning centuries and various cultures. And not only art pieces, this place also has a nice assortment of ancient books, writings and other interesting historical resources worth checking out. Some of the most noteworthy artworks here are Vincent Van Gogh’s The Bedroom, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Pablo Picasso’s Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and The Old Guitarist etc.
2. Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, Georgia
Allow yourself the enlightening experience of ‘Seeing America’s Story’ through the elaborate collection of Western art, Civil War artifacts, sculptures and portraits of famous presidents. Designed to resemble a pueblo, Booth Western Art Museum is the world’s largest permanent exhibition space for Western Art. More than a dozen galleries showcase works of many famous artists like Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Andy Warhol etc. In recent years this museum has garnered so much attention from the visitors that it has been named the Best Art Museum by USAToday Readers’ Choice Awards and considered one of the best American museums.
3. The Neon Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is widely popular for its funky, colorful neon signs and the Neon Museum is the place where most of the old signs end up. So if you are visiting Las Vegas, then you cannot miss out on this uniquely curated exhibit which gives a classic flamboyant and retro feel. It's a popular pop culture museum. This museum can be the perfect place for a date because a walk through the outdoor exhibition space, the Neon Boneyard, can be pretty romantic. When the restored signs light up at night, it’s a memorable sight to behold. Also the North Gallery hosts an audio-visual show regularly which is known as the largest augmented reality experience.
4. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
Every kid’s wonderland, this space museum holds the world’s largest collection of aviation and space artifacts and demonstrates the history of human flight at its finest. The museum’s two buildings proudly showcase the true American spirit through their superior collection of relics, archival materials and many performances, educational programs and lectures. The massive aircrafts and spacecraft on display here not only inspires awe among children, but also among adults. The most impressive among them are the 1903 Wright Flier and the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia. And another lucrative point? The admission is absolutely free!
5. The Getty, Los Angeles, California
Located among the breathtaking view of a high altitude mountain range, the Getty Center is widely famous for its lofty curation of European paintings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, photography and decorative arts. Its iconic location provides a great opportunity for a spectacular view of L.A. You are up for a thrilling experience from the very beginning when a driverless tram takes you atop the hill to the museum from the main parking lot. Along with visiting different galleries full of medieval and modern arts, you can also take a relaxing stroll across the Central Garden(designed by Robert Irwin) with its serene water fountains and lush greenery.
6. The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana
Located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, this museum is a military museum exhibiting decades of history of World War II, the cause, the effects and everything in between. Previously known as the National D-Day Museum, this museum’s vault holds a staggering amount of 250,000 artifacts including significant wartime memoirs and personal accounts of many war veterans. If you have a bit of time at hand, take a guided tour of the museum to get a more immersive experience of the exhibits. Explore the insides of Campaigns of Courage and the Center for Collections and Archives(where you can see amazing artifacts not available for public viewing!) in these guided tours.
7. COSI(Center of Science and Industry), Columbus, Ohio
Considered one of the greatest science museums of the US, COSI exhibits a remarkable display of latest innovations and technologies to the visitors. It houses Ohio’s largest Planetarium which provides an extraordinary view of the beautiful galaxy above. Get up, close and personal with incredible dinosaurs like T. rex in the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery. Let your little ones explore the Big Science Park where they can enjoy many larger-than-life activities such as lifting a big car with the help of a lever and rolling a giant granite sphere. This place is not only great for sparking curiosity in kids, it also provides thorough entertainment for adults.
8. USS Midway Museum, San Diego, California
Many travelers would reckon that if you visit San Diego, USS Midway Museum is a must visit place. Though mainly known as a children's museum, this museum caters to people of every age. Embark on an adventure to marine life with your family with this all-encompassed, interactive museum tour. USS Midway was one of America’s longest serving aircraft carriers and thus carries a rich history of the country in the form of over 60 exhibits and 29 restored aircrafts on its deck. There’s a lot of family-oriented activities to enjoy here including Junior Pilot Program, Flight simulations, guided Island tour and many more.
9. Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington
One museum, three different amazing locations, each offering something special. The Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park, all of them are must-visit places for art lovers. Just a block away from the Pine Place Market, SAM has been a center for world class visual arts for decades. It’s one of the most prominent museums of the Pacific Northwest which bridges the gap between cultures and centuries. The Asian Art Museum is famous for its extensive Asian collection. And the nine-acre sculpture park is also covered in monumental artworks and gorgeously decorated with lush greenery and water fountains.
10. U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Run by the government of Alabama, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center aka USSRC is not only one of the greatest space & aviation museums of America, but also of the world. It’s a Smithsonian affiliated museum and official visit center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. It's a great children's museum where their curious minds can run wild and get priceless opportunities to learn about rockets, spaceships and galaxies. There's so much to do here. Enjoy the view of the galaxy from the incredible INTUITIVE Planetarium, learn about military aviation history, experience the historic events of Apollo 11 through VR or take a fully guided underwater snorkeling tour. There's not a single minute you will feel bored in this amazing wonderland.