The world's most popular museums
By Roxanne James

The World's Top Ten Museums

One of the most popular tourist activities apart from languishing on a beach is visiting museums. Here we take a look at the world's most popular museums (in no particular order), together with some of the exhibits that continue to draw tourists in their numbers.

  1.  British Museum, London - home to the largest collection of artefacts and antiquities, spanning two million years. In 2013 the museum received a record 6.7 million visitors, an increase of 20% on the previous year. Popular exhibitions including "Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum" and "Ice Age Art" are credited with helping fuel the increase in visitors. Plans were announced in September 2014 to recreate the entire building along with all exhibits in the video game Minecraft in conjunction with members of the public.
  2.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City - Known as 'The Met', this is the largest art museum in the US and one of the ten largest in the world. The museum's art collection contains more than two million works divided among seventeen curatorial departments. Represented in the permanent collection are works of art from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from almost all the European masters and an extensive collection of American and modern art.
  3.  The Tate Museum, London - Britain's national museum exhibits international modern and contemporary art, with exhibited pieces including works from Matisse, Picasso, Dalí, Pollock and numerous others. Located on the banks of the river Thames, the Tate welcomes around 4.7 million visitors annually, making it the most visited art gallery in the world.
  4.  The Vatican Museums - the museums of the Vatican City are located within the city's boundaries. The immense art collection was built up by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries and includes some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. Consisting of 54 galleries, the world-famous Sistine Chapel with its ceiling by Michelangeo is the last gallery on the visitor route through the salas.
  5.  Museu Nacional del Prado, Madrid - this is the main Spanish national art museum located in central Madrid. The permanent collection features one of the world's finest collections of European art dating from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection and considered the best single collection of Spanish art. Apart from paintings, the collection includes drawings, prints, sculptures, examples of decorative arts and historical documents.
  6.  The Ufizzi Gallery, Florence, Italy - The Uffizi is among the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe and displays works from all the major Renaissance artists including Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Veronse, Giorgione and Caravaggio. Such is the museum's popularity, visitors may be subject to queuing for up to 5 hours for entry during the peak season.
  7.  The Smithsonian, Washington DC - The Smithsonian is the world's largest museum complex and research organisation consisting of 19 museums, 9 research centres and the National Zoo. Favourites among tourists include the Natural History Museum, Museum of American History and souvenirs from the 18th and 19th centuries. Known as 'the nation's attic' for its eclectic holdings of 137 million items, many of the Institution's Washington buildings are considered historical and architectural landmarks.
  8.  Musée du Louvre, Paris - The Louvre's extensive art collection contains 35,000 pieces distributed across 8 sections: Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Near Eastern Antiquities, Paintings, Sculptures, Decorative Arts and Prints and Drawings daring back to the Middle Ages up to 1848. The iconic building is famous for housing the Mona Lisa, The Raft of medusa, Venus de Milo and the Victory of Samothrace, along with works from Da Vinci. Formerly a Royal residence, one day is not considered enough to see everything this incredible museum displays.
  9.  The Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia - One of the largest museums in Europe, the collection includes over three million works of art and artefacts from world culture. Amonth them are masterpieces from Picasso, Monet and da Vinci together with other paintings, graphic art, sculptures and works of applied art, archaeological discoveries, plus currency and coin collections. The main architecture of the Hermitage, located in the heart of St Petersburg, features the Winter Palace, the past residence of Russian emperors.
  10.  Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), New York City - MoMa's objective is to collect the established and the experimental, the past and the present of all people. The collection includes drawings painting and sculpture, abstract art, architectural works and design, photography, prints, illustrated books, film and media. The museum displays pieces from Picasso, Monet, Matisse, Warhol, Cézanne, Dalí and numerous others. MoMa has been important in developing and collecting modernist art and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world.


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