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One of the best parts of traveling is experiencing the wonder of a new culture. You can soak in the atmosphere, eat local food, and talk to residents. However, visiting a museum gives you the opportunity to dig deep and understand the history and values of a new place. So, what country has the most museums to visit?
Around the world, there are approximately 104,000 museums. These buildings house the stories of history, art, natural artifacts, and so much more. Here’s everything you need to know about which countries to visit to experience the most museums.
What Country Has the Most Museums?
These are some of the countries with the most museums in the world:
- The United States
- South Korea
- The United Kingdom
The United States has the most museums of any country, at 33,082 museums. The U.S. is home to around 32% of the world’s total museums, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Getty among the most well known.
Germany is second at 6,257, and Japan, Russia and France follow.
Although the U.S. has more than five times as many museums as any other country, that’s likely due to its large size and population. The United States is more than 28 times larger than Germany, which means that the European country has far more museums than the continental U.S. per acre of land.
According to Statista, most of the cities with the highest number of museums are outside of the U.S. In 2019, Paris topped the list with 297 museums in one city. Other cities with high numbers of museums included Moscow In Russia, Los Angeles in the U.S., Seoul in South Korea, London in England, and Tokyo in Japan.
Israel is the country with the highest number of museums per capita, boasting over 200 museums in a nation of around 9 million residents. Many of these museums are found in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and celebrate the history and culture of the Jewish people.
The Top 5 Art Museums to Visit
Every museum has something of value to offer tourists and visitors. However, there are a few museums that combine especially stunning architecture with precious artifacts and artwork to create an experience that is truly one-of-a-kind.
To help you get started, here are five of the best art museums to visit during your travels. These incredible museums are located all around the world and all have something unique to offer.
1. The Louvre, Paris, France
The Louvre is the world’s largest museum and holds some of the most culturally significant art in the world. You enter this museum through an iconic glass pyramid. Essential things to see in the Louvre include Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Vénus de Milo, Le Sacre de l’Empereur Napoléon Ier by Jacques-Louis David, and the Code of Hammurabi, to name a few.
2. The National Museum of China, Beijing
The third largest museum and second most visited museum in the world displays over 1 million rare artifacts. The National Museum of China holds the country’s rich history dating back thousands of years. Exhibits include ancient Chinese jades, porcelain, and stone sculptures.
3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, United States
Founded in 1870, the Met is the largest museum in the United States and the fourth largest in the world. The museum displays artwork spanning 5,000 years from all around the world. Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, pictured above, is among the most famous pieces in the Met. Visitors can also find artwork by Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, Claude Monet and more.
4. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom
Named for the iconic royal couple, this museum contains a collection of beautiful and interesting items from around the world. A few must-sees include the jewelry gallery, the replica of Trajan’s Column, hand-crafted textiles designed by William Morris, and a collection of over five centuries of fashion. Each room is different, so you can use the museum guide to visit the exhibits that interest you most.
5. The Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy
Founded in 1506, the Vatican Museum has grown to include multiple buildings and thousands of pieces of art over the last 500 years. Notable works of art include Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Laocoön and His Sons, The Creation of Adam, The School of Athens, and the Bramante Staircase. The amount of history and artwork contained in this museum is astounding.
Several other incredible museums to visit are the Prado National Museum in Spain, the National Museum of China, Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology, and the Cairo Museum in Egypt. While you can find many museums that focus on world history, there’s something special about learning about artifacts in the place they were originally created and used.
What Is the Most Visited Museum in the World?
The Louvre museum in France is the most visited museum in the world. The Louvre reported around 10 million visitors in 2019 and 7.8 million in 2022, as pandemic-related travel restrictions were lifted.
The National Museum of China, which houses 1.3 million historical objects, is the second most visited museum. In 2023, the museum had 2.38 million visitors.
Where Will You Begin?
Use this guide to decide what country you’ll visit next and which museums you’ll tour when you get there. The unique collections found in these museums will give you a glimpse of the rich history and culture of the people who came before and built the nation you get to experience today.
The world is wide, and there’s so much for you to discover in it. Museums are a magic portal to the past, give context to the present, and provide inspiration for the future. Which museum will you visit for your next adventure?
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