I wandered around there with my jaw on the floor for at least a good hour.
I love a ton (Everything at the Smithsonian, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, the terra cotta warriors in Xi’an, etc.). But one of my favorite art museums has to be the Belvedere Museum in Vienna. It’s got some real notables like Klimt’s The Kiss, Jacques-Louis David’s Napoleon, Messerschmidt’s face studies, a bunch of Egon Schiele. It’s housed in a gorgeous former palace. But the weirdo thing about this place is that they don’t segregate the eras of art. So you can be standing in this beautiful room with classical masterpieces and a giant blob of contemporary “something” in the middle of the floor. It makes for a very surreal experience. Prime example. This was the lobby when I went. Classical mythical figures with a Jeff Koons Hulk sitting in the middle of it. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/jeff-koons-hulk-friends-installation-view-at-the-belvedere-vienna
While in Bologna we stopped in to the Museum of Palazzo Poggi. It is small, but the collection is fascinating. It contains a collection of natural history specimens, anatomical waxworks, Oriental art, Military architecture models, a gallery of model sailing ships and the building itself (erected in 1500’s) is covered in frescos.
If you are ever in New Orleans, you should head to the Backstreet Cultural Museum, which has a fantastic collection of costumes, ephemera, photographs, etc. relating to Mardi Gras Indians, social and pleasure clubs, and other African-American cultural institutions.
In Venice, there’s the lovely little Museo della Musica with gorgeous old instruments.
I was blown away by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. They had an exhibit on paper, where the first piece exhibited was a beehive, to point out the structural use of paper & pulp in the non-human world.
As an NYC resident, I always steer visitors toward the Museum of the City of New York, which is one of the very best things someone can do to kick off a day touring around our little global island.
The City Museum in St Louis MO is the strangest museum you could hope to visit. It’s housed in an old shoe factory, and my best description is “a backyard fort on steroids”. Very little of it is traditional curated exhibits.
My tips for visiting with kids:
- In each area, designate an “I’m Lost” place. Pick something easy to find, with a place to sit.
- Introduce your children to the staff in each location “Here’s our Buddy.”
- Put your cell phone number on the wristband of each kid, or put it on a sticker and put in on the back of their shirt between the shoulder blades.
- The best bathrooms are on the third floor, near the entrance to the architecture museum.
- Thank each member of the staff on the way out when you leave. They deserve the love.
Features include a circus school, a toddler play area, an art studio, a Ferris wheel on the roof, an in-residence storyteller, a 10-story slide, and more places to explore than you can see in six hours. Not to be missed.
Man, City Museums looks awesome! I’ll have to put that on the list for my family’s upcoming reunion in STL this fall.
I came here to recommend the City Museum as well! I went to St. Louis just to visit, and it was well worth it.
That’s a tough question to give a single answer to. It’s hard to beat the Louvre overall. The various Smithsonian museums are fantastic as well. I’d say the most underrated Smithsonian museum to me personally is the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. If you haven’t been it’s sort of an extension of the Air and Space museum out by Dulles Airport. With exhibits like THE Enola Gay, the space shuttle Discovery, and the SR-71 Blackbird that broke the air speed record, it’s a must see if you’re a fan of aerospace tech.
Mingei International Museum. San Diego, CA. Currently in renovation with pop up exhibits around the city
Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM. http://www.moifa.org/
Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA. Exhibitions | Oakland Museum of California
The British Museum is amazing!!
The World War I museum in the underrated city of Kansas City is my favorite museum in the states!!
Ah, just spent some time in some small WWI Museums in Belgium (including the In Flanders Fields Museum), and am now very keen to now see the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. Fair to say it’s the best WWI museum in the US?
The WWI museums in Belgium are mindblowingly good and extremely poignant , what were your impressions of them ?
I loved visiting the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, PA. It’s on the former site of Bethlehem Steel, which was one of the largest iron and steel manufacturers in the world. After visiting the museum be sure and walk along the Steel Stacks which are open to the public. So inspiring!
I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to get around, so my own contributions will probably be less exciting (and maybe less interesting) than other’s experiences, but my favorite museum that I’ve visited would be the one at the Corning Glass plant in NY.
I haven’t been there in ages, but I remember the many fascinating applications of glass we normally take for granted (older windows, and drinking glasses) that are outside of these experiences.
Glass can be made to conduct a current, virtually shatterproof (watched as a chalice was dropped from a two story building, and it bounced off the metal plate it struck on the ground), porous, or translucent/blocking virtually any electromagnetic wavelength (including light) one can imagine.
There was also many beautiful handmade & hand blown art pieces on display.
The glass ball, hanging from the top floor of the building inside, demonstrated a visual of the earth rotation. I spent most of a day exploring the place.
I’d also really love to stop by NYC’s Obscura Antiques & Oddities shop one of these days.
Poignant is the right word. It’s also impressive how dedicated the locals are to honoring the memories of all who died. I’m thinking particularly of the extremely well-maintained cemeteries and the fact that the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate still happens every single evening at 8PM.
As a side note, while it doesn’t exude the same sense of reverence as the above—in fact, it’s fairly tacky—the private Sanctuary Wood museum is nonetheless a powerful experience as it is dotted with shell craters one of the very few remaining examples of WWI trenches still preserved.
Loved the Shrine of Rememberance down under in Melbourne, VIC. Gave off a really eerie vibe as WW1 history should — chills down my spine at every room.
Really poignant, and amazing view of the city when you leave through the front door.
The Victoria and Albert Museum (https://www.vam.ac.uk). The British Museum (https://www.britishmuseum.org). Technically not a museum but… the Bodleian (https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk). The Roman Baths (https://www.romanbaths.co.uk). The Louvre (https://www.louvre.fr). The Jane Austen Centre (https://www.janeausten.co.uk). Any of the Smithsonian museums (https://www.si.edu) but especially the National Museum of American History (https://www.si.edu/museums/american-history-museum) since it’s my museum - the most frequently asked question aside from where the restrooms are is the location of the Ruby Slippers (not Ruby Red Slippers, just Ruby Slippers, ok?). The National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum (https://www.si.edu/newsdesk/photos/donald-w-reynolds-center-american-art-and-portraiture) has a wonderful courtyard. The National Building Museum (https://www.nbm.org) has got to have one of the best museum shops ever. The National Gallery of Art (https://www.nga.gov) is pretty amazing, too.
kogod_courtyard_slideshow1_0|690x460 (Courtesy of the Smithsonian)