Museums are awe-inspiring windows into history, beauty, and inspiration. There’s nothing quite like spending a day surrounded by history, art, and culture. And fortunately for us, the United States is home to some of the best museums in the world.
From small town museums to world-renowned institutions, there’s something for everyone. So whether you’re a history buff or an art lover, be sure to add these museums to your travel list. They’re perfect for a day trip or a longer vacation.
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is in New York City
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, popularly known as “the Met,” is a beautiful destination if you want to see a wide range of art in New York City.
The museum is one of the largest in the United States, not only in New York.
The museum’s permanent regal collection of artworks has over 2 million great works organized among 17 curatorial divisions in wide settings.
2. The Chicago Art Institute
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the most impressive must-see institutions in Chicago’s Grant Park.
The Art Institute of Chicago was established in 1879 and is considered one of the best, oldest, and largest art museums to visit in the United States.
There are almost 300,000 works of art and treasures to discover in the museum’s permanent collection.
3. Offices of Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution Office in Washington, D.C., is a magnificent and well-known museum.
It is a former workplace transformed into one of the world’s largest museums to visit, educational destinations, and fantastic research complexes.
The museum houses 19 museums dedicated to diverse artworks and a large zoo.
The organization was founded in 1846 with cash supplied by an English businessman named James Smithson.
He established the institution for the community to gain and share information.
4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Institution of Modern Art is a magnificent museum in New York City’s lovely Midtown Manhattan that offers lovely views of art.
It is one of the largest and most influential museums to visit that focus on and holds contemporary art, and it plays a vital role in creating and collecting modern art.
The museum’s extensive art collection includes stunning works by various late-nineteenth-century American and European artists.
5. Natural History Museum of the United States
The American Museum of Natural History is a world-class experimental and cultural institution.
It is a museum that houses a diverse collection of unique art in all genres.
It is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, in an attractive and accessible location.
In 1869, the museum was founded and opened its doors to the public.
It’s a fantastic place to discover, learn, and interpret the arts.
6. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, is regarded for being a stunning museum.
The museum is a fantastic place to see and admire numerous works of art.
By measuring the public gallery area, it is ranked 14th among the world’s most comprehensive art shows.
The museum houses about 450,000 works of art, making it one of the largest collections in the United States.
7. The National Museum of WWII
The National WWII Museum, originally known as the “National D-Day Museum,” is a remarkable military history museum.
When visiting New Orleans’ Central Business District, it is a lovely sight and a must-see museum.
The National WWII Museum is one of New Orleans’ most popular tourist attractions, ranking second in the United States, and is a site that commemorates an unforgettable way to experience World War II.
8. The Cleveland Museum of Art is in Cleveland, Ohio
The Cleveland Museum of Art is a basic but lovely art museum located in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is widely acknowledged as one of the best art museums to visit in the United States.
It houses diverse art collections and huge facilities for displaying and showcasing each masterpiece.
In 1913, the museum was established “for the benefit of all people forever.”
9. Institute of Arts in Detroit
The Detroit Institute of Arts is a must-see tourist destination in Detroit, Michigan, because it has a diverse collection of remarkable works of art.
The museum is one of the best, most classical, and well-known art galleries in the United States.
The museum has almost 65,000 artworks on display, with paintings dating from ancient civilizations.
10. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is located in Los Angeles, California.
On a beautiful vacation to Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a spectacular tourist destination and museum you must not miss.
It is widely acknowledged as the largest art museum in Western America.
The great Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, founded in 1910 in Exposition Park, provided the information, context, and goals for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
11. Guggenheim Museum, Solomon R.
In Manhattan, New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is an exceptional museum to discover and enjoy art.
The “Guggenheim” is a stunning museum usually referred to as such.
It’s a gallery with a diverse collection of stunning works of art.
12. American Art Museum Whitney
The Whitney Museum of American Art is widely recognized as one of the most spectacular museums to visit if you want to see a diverse collection of exceptional works of art.
The “Whitney,” fondly referred to, is a Manhattan art museum.
It was founded by American socialite Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930 and is named after her.
Whitney’s list and displays cover about 24,000 pieces created by over 3,500 artists in the United States throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
13. 9/11 Museum and Memorial
The museum is a tribute to the 2,977 individuals killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks and the six people killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City.
The museum’s unique combination of art, archaeology, and history allow visitors to engage in an intriguing dialogue about the bombings, their aftermath, and the individuals who lived through them.
14. The Indianapolis Children’s Museum
Since it is the world’s most stunning, most delicate, and largest children’s museum, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a must-see attraction, especially for children.
It is on North Meridian Street in Indianapolis’ United Northwest Area neighborhood.
The museum has received certification from the American Alliance of Museums for being an exceptional children’s museum.
15. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation Museum
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is located in Detroit, Michigan.
The gorgeous Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is within reach of anyone looking for a spectacular spot to observe and appreciate in Dearborn, Michigan.
The Henry Ford is a big sprawling museum that combines an interior museum with an outdoor gallery.
It is in Detroit’s wonderful and charming city and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
16. Museum of Art in Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a lovely place with breathtaking scenery, but it also has the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is a must-see attraction for everyone visiting the city.
The Philadelphia Centennial Exposition was held in 1876, and the main structure was constructed and acquired in 1928 to become the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
17. Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts
The Institution of Fine Arts, Houston, is an excellent museum that presents outstanding arts among Houston, Texas’s large and busy streets.
It is one of the country’s largest and most well-known museums to visit.
The museum is brimming with stunning works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and more.
The museum houses a fantastic collection of almost 60 centuries of history from various eras.
18. Minneapolis Institute of Art
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is a museum located in the lovely Minnesota town of Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Institute of Art, or Mia, is one of the largest and most beautiful art museums to visit in the United States, with about a hundred thousand works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history.
19. The Getty
The Getty is one of the many attractive destinations and renowned museums to visit in Los Angeles.
It is well worth the visit because it houses a wide range of artwork from various periods.
The museum is more than simply a place to see art; it’s also a beautiful campus with various arts programmers who help new and established artists. Any visitor can discover each art background exhibited in the Getty Museum’s galleries and learn.
20. Chicago’s Field Museum
The modern Field Museum has been open to the public since 1921, but its origins go back even further.
Its Founders used Items from the 1893 World’s Fair to start the collection.
The museum not only displays the collection but also employs academics and scientists and participates in critical environmental initiatives.
21. Planetarium of Albert Einstein
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum houses the Albert Einstein Planetarium.
Every day, the Planetarium hosts a variety of shows, including Whoopi Goldberg’s “Journey to the Stars” and “Dark Universe,” a look at the 95% of the universe that isn’t visible. The best part? After each performance, you get astronaut ice cream.
22. Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum
The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University is located in Druid Hill, Georgia, and houses art and artifacts from antiquity to the present. The museum was formed in 1919 and is now one of the most revered institutions in the state.
23. Denver Museum of Art
The Denver Art Museum houses about 70,000 works in ten different collections.
The Frederic C. Hamilton Building was added to the museum in 2006, doubling its size.
The total area of the complex is now over 350,000 square feet. On a tour of the largest Monet show, the museum was selected as the only stop in the United States.
24. Endeavour, the Space Shuttle
The Challenger space shuttle exploded a minute after liftoff in 1986, killing all seven crew members on board.
The Endeavour was designed as a replacement and was the youngest member of NASA’s defunct space shuttle fleet when it launched in 2011.
The Endeavour is now exhibited at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
25. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Andrew W. Mellon, a Pittsburgh art collector who served as Secretary of the United States Treasury from 1921 to 1932, donated the National Gallery of Art to the public.
In 1936, Mellon gave President Franklin D. Roosevelt his art collection, and building began in 1937. Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, and Mark Rothko are among the painters represented at the museum.
26. Museum of the United States Air Force
The Albert Einstein Planetarium is within the National Air and Space Museum, but its attractions do not end there.
This free public museum is a mecca for all things aviation, with exhibits such as the sole component of the Apollo 11 space shuttle to return to Earth.
In 2018, the museum will begin a large construction project that will take seven years to finish.
27. Science and Industry Museum
In Chicago, the Science and Industry Museum has displays ranging from “The Science Behind Pixar” to “Coal Mine.”
The common thread running across all exhibits is a commitment to “stimulating the imaginative creativity in everyone.”
28. The Museum of Judaism
The Jewish Museum was created in 1904 and designated as a New York City landmark in 1981. The museum investigated Jewish culture via art and was the first of its kind in the world, and it is still one of the oldest dedicated to the Jewish experience.
29. Oriental Institute (OI)
The Oriental Institute is devoted to studying ancient Near Eastern history, art, and archaeology.
Ancient cuneiform tablets and a 17-foot-tall statue of King Tutankhamun are among the museum’s most remarkable exhibits. There are also over 1,000 Paleolithic items on display and numerous mummies.
30. Museum of Art of North Carolina
The North Carolina Art Society was founded in 1924, while the North Carolina Museum of Art was founded in 1925.
The current permanent collection of the museum was formed in 1947 when the North Carolina General Assembly appropriated $1 million for art purchases.
As a result, North Carolina became the first state to spend public dollars to buy art.
31. Natural History Museum of Houston
The Wiess Energy Hall, Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, and Cabinet of Curiosities are permanent exhibits in the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The Herzstein Foucault Pendulum, first displayed during the 1851 Paris World’s Fair, is also included. The pendulum swing appears to fluctuate during the day, but this is due to the Earth revolving beneath it.
32. Gallery Renwick
The Renwick Gallery is a Smithsonian American Art Museum division dedicated to presenting contemporary American craft.
Nick Cave’s “Sound Suit” and Wendell Castle’s “Ghost Clock” are among the collection’s highlights.
The exhibit is also available via virtual reality for people who cannot visit Washington, D.C.
33. The Museum of Aviation
The Museum of Flight, devoted to all things airborne, honors and shows the Boeing Company, fighter planes from both World Wars, and much more.
The museum, located just outside of Seattle, honors many aircraft types and helps with historic restoration initiatives. The restorations occur in the museum’s Restoration Center and Reserve Collection at Plaine Field, a 23,000-square-foot area.
34. Strong National Play Museum
There are no dinosaur bones or artwork here:
The Strong National Museum of Play has the world’s most extensive collection of play materials.
Exhibits may let children play the part. The museum’s interactive nature makes it a popular family attraction in New York.
35. Center for Steven F. Udvar-Hazy
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is part of the National Air and Space Museum, also on this list.
This museum is a companion to the one in Washington, D.C., and explores all things aircraft and spacecraft.
The Space Shuttle “Discovery” and the Boeing Stratoliner are two of the museum’s highlights.
36. Gallery of National Portraits
In Washington, D.C., the National Portrait Gallery has an outstanding collection of—you guessed it—portraits.
The gallery recently presented President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama portraits.
To say these portraits have brought in revenue is an understatement.
37. The Big Picture
This famous museum, located in downtown Los Angeles, has just been operating for three years.
It only exhibits contemporary art, such as the popular infinity mirror rooms.
Those interested in seeing The Broad should purchase tickets in advance; otherwise, expect to wait.
38. Museum of Asian Art
The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco has a permanent collection of over 2,000 works of art representing all Asian cultures.
“The Buddha Triumphing Over Mara” is an excellent example.
East-West Bank recently donated $5 million to the museum, planning an extensive renovation project.
39. Air Force Museum of the United States of America
The National Museum of the United States Air Force, near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s oldest and largest military aviation museum.
There are galleries dedicated to missiles, the Cold War, the Korean War, and much more inside the museum. Those who live outside of Dayton can take a virtual tour of the museum to see everything it offers.
40. Museum of Art in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Art museum displays Dior’s “Fabulous Fashion,” “British Satirical Prints,” and other exhibits.
The museum was founded in 1876 after the International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Products of the Soil and Mine in Paris. The museum has roughly 227,000 artifacts spanning practically all periods of art history.
41. American Art Museum Crystal Bridges
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s mission is to bring together artistic production with the world’s natural beauty.
The museum’s name is derived from a local natural spring and refers to the bridge construction incorporated into the building’s design. The museum was established in 2005.
42. Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park
The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is your ticket to Gettysburg, the location of one of the Civil War’s most important battles.
The conflict took place in July of 1863 and lasted three days. General Robert E. Lee ordered the Confederate men to retreat at the end of the battle, and the rest is history.
43. Museum of Henry Ford
The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, is named after Henry Ford, an American innovator, and inventor who founded the Ford Motor Company.
According to legend, he displayed early skills by enlisting other youngsters to assist in engineering miniature machines when he was a child. The museum respects all sorts of invention, innovation, and resourcefulness.
44. African American History and Culture National Museum
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the country’s first museum dedicated entirely to African American life, history, and culture.
David Adjaye designed the structure, incorporating elements and inspirations from several African traditions.
45. Art Museum of Dallas
The Dallas Museum of Art was founded in 1903 and is one of the country’s top ten art museums to visit.
The museum is 14,800 square feet and covers more than 5,000 years of history.
The museum not only exhibits a wide range of artwork but also places a strong emphasis on conservation.
46. Museum of Contemporary Art (MoMA)
If art-viewing whets your hunger, there are plenty of restaurants around.
The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan has a collection of almost 200,000 works, with 80,000 of them accessible online.
Some of the shows at MoMA, such as Peter Fischli’s “If Everything Is Sculpture, Why Make Sculpture?” make the viewer examine their relationship with the work.
47. Houston Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston houses about 65,000 works of art dating from antiquity to the present.
British Royal portraits, Islamic art, and the biography of Vincent van Gogh are among the exhibits.
The museum, which opened in 1900, is the largest in the Southwest United States.49.
48. Fort Worth’s Modern Art Museum
Most of the current exhibits of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth date from 1945 to today.
The museum was founded in 1892 and is the oldest in Texas.
The name has evolved, with variations such as the Carnegie Public Library Art Gallery and the Fort Worth Art Center. Still, the commitment to the public appreciation of art has remained constant.
49. Museum dedicated to Louis Armstrong
The Louis Armstrong House Museum is a New York City landmark and a National Historic Landmark.
From 1943 to the end of their lives, the famed jazz artist and his wife, Lucille, occupied the house.
50. Museum in Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Museum, one of the country’s oldest and largest art museums to visit, dates back to 1823, when the Brooklyn Apprentices’ Library was founded, an institution that would eventually include Walt Whitman.
The museum has over a million works on display and covers 560,000 square feet.
The museum’s collection spans centuries, from African art to European painting to modern work.
Whether you’re an art lover or simply love learning about history, then a visit to one of America’s many museums is a must. From the large and well-known museum like The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to the smaller and more unique ones like The National Mustard Museum in Wisconsin,
So, if you’re looking for a fun and educational way to spend your time, be sure to check out one of these incredible museums.