Once again, I am taking inspiration for a post from an article I read online. Budget Travel recently published an article with this same title.
I know for sure that I have been to 8 of the 10 museums featured in this article. I will be visiting one of them in a few weeks — for a total of 9 — and I just can’t remember if I’ve been to the London one. I don’t have a bucket list of museums, but it shouldn’t be difficult to complete this list.
1. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
I have been to this museum on several occasions. It is a beautiful museum in a great neighborhood. It is a huge museum, so I always use a map. I have never been through the entire museum — it is too large — so getting a map lets me really concentrate on the type of art I am most interested in spending time with.
I have become a big fan of getting the audio guide when I visit art museums. I think they are a great investment and really enhances the museum experience.
I have visited the Louvre four times. I made a huge mistake during my first visit — I tried to go through the entire museum in one day. Don’t do it! I was exhausted and a bit crabby, and I was wearing new shoes (another no-no). I don’t remember much about that visit.
My second visit left me thinking that there must be thousands of paintings of baby Jesus. And they are all in the Louvre. This is when I invested time in really looking at the museum’s map and making smarter decisions about where to spend my time. Yes, I did see the Mona Lisa. She is much smaller than I anticipated.
My third visit was after reading Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Part of the beginning of the book was set in the Louvre. This visit was centered around the art featured in the book. I thought it was a fun, and different, way to experience a museum. And, I can’t help but wonder now what is under the pyramid?? I don’t assume it is Mary, but it sure made for a good story.
3. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
I visited this museum on a very hot and humid June day in 2009. I remember that because it was easy to convince the children to go to the museum because they wanted to be somewhere with air conditioning. I don’t know if they saw any art that day!
My favorite museum in Madrid is The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. I hope to visit it again someday. I went there late in the day, so I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have liked to, so I ran from room to room as quickly as I could taking pictures so I could enjoy the art later.
Sadly, this museum was closed for renovation when I was in Amsterdam. It has since re-opened, so I must make a point of getting back there. We did get to see a couple of rooms of beautiful Dutch masters. It was like a tease of all that we missed due to it being mostly closed.
5. Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
I will be here in a few weeks. Can’t wait! I anticipate this will become my #1.
6. Vatican Museum, Vatican City
I’ve visited the Vatican twice. The first time was with a guide, but he rushed us through the museum very quickly in order to get to the Sistine Chapel before it closed.
I returned in 2011 and did a evening visit of the Vatican Museum. It is another massive museum that requires some planning with a map because I couldn’t imagine seeing it all in a single visit. I took more time during this visit for the museum, but paid for it at the end with a shortened amount of time in the Sistine Chapel. Both are must-see! Note: if the Vatican Museum says it closes at 9 PM – that really means you are fully outside at that time. It doesn’t mean you can start walking to the door at about 9.
7. British Museum, London
I can’t remember if I visited this museum or not. If I did, it was in 1989. I will make a point to visit it during my next trip to London.
8. Art Institute of Chicago
I’ve visited this museum twice. Of all museums in this list, it is the closest to my house. I get to Chicago about once per year, but haven’t made a point to go here for many years. If I remember correctly, it has a great art collection; and is in a beautiful building on Michigan Ave.
(Jill at the Getty) I love this museum, in part due to its location. I’ve visited twice, and both days were beautiful enough to really see the surrounding area — including ocean views. It isn’t a huge museum, and I highly recommend it.
10. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
I lived in DC for nearly five years, but probably only visited this museum three times. It is another beautiful museum, in a beautiful location.
What is missing?
As much as I appreciate the Louvre, there are two museums in Paris that I like better.
Musee D’Orsay – this museum is a former train station. It is a great space that has been adapted for a beautiful museum.