Top Most Visited Museums in the World – Mus3ums

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Top 100 Museums

Imperial War Museum

London

United Kingdom

Imperial War Museums is a British national museum organisation with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. Founded as the Imperial War Museum in 1917, the museum was intended to record the civil and military war effort and sacrifice of Britain and its Empire during the First World War. The museum's remit has since expanded to include all conflicts in which British or Commonwealth forces have been involved since 1914. As of 2012, the museum aims "to provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and 'wartime experience'."Originally housed in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, the museum opened to the public in 1920. In 1924, the museum moved to space in the Imperial Institute in South Kensington, and finally in 1936, the museum acquired a permanent home that was previously the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Southwark. The outbreak of the Second World War saw the museum expand both its collections and its terms of reference, but in the post-war period, the museum entered a period of decline. The 1960s saw the museum redevelop its Southwark building, now referred to as Imperial War Museum London, which serves as the organisation's corporate headquarters. During the 1970s, the museum began to expand onto other sites. The first, in 1976, was a historic airfield in Cambridgeshire now referred to as IWM Duxford. In 1978, the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Belfast became a branch of the museum, having previously been preserved for the nation by a private trust. In 1984, the Cabinet War Rooms, an underground wartime command centre, was opened to the public. From the 1980s onwards, the museum's Bethlem building underwent a series of multimillion-pound redevelopments, completed in 2000. Finally, 2002 saw the opening of IWM North in Trafford, Greater Manchester, the fifth branch of the museum and the first in the north of England. In 2011, the museum rebranded itself as IWM, standing for "Imperial War Museums". The museum's collections include archives of personal and official documents, photographs, film and video material, and oral history recordings, an extensive library, a large art collection, and examples of military vehicles and aircraft, equipment, and other artefacts. The museum is funded by government grants, charitable donations, and revenue generation through commercial activity such as retailing, licensing, and publishing. General admission is free to IWM London and IWM North, but an admission fee is levied at the other branches. The museum is an exempt charity under the Charities Act 1993 and a non-departmental public body under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. As of January 2012, the Chairman of the Trustees is Sir Francis Richards. Since October 2008, the museum's director general has been Diane Lees.

Royal Scottish Academy

Edinburgh

United Kingdom

For Scotland's national academy, see Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Royal Scottish Academy is the country’s national academy of art. It promotes contemporary Scottish art. The Academy was founded in 1826 by eleven artists meeting in Edinburgh. Originally named the Scottish Academy, it became the Royal Scottish Academy on being granted a royal charter in 1838. The RSA maintains a unique position in the country as an independently funded institution led by eminent artists and architects to promote and support the creation, understanding, and enjoyment of visual arts through exhibitions and related educational events.

Castle House, Dedham

Colchester

United Kingdom

Castle House in Denham, Essex, England was the home of Sir Alfred Munnings from 1919 till his death in 1959. Architecturally the building contains a mixture of Tudor and Georgian elements.Shortly after his death his widow established The Violet Munnings Trust Fund in 1962 to establish and run an Art Museum in Castle House, in accordance with Munnings' wish that his pictures and estate be left to the nation. In 1965 Castle House Trust was formed whereby the house itself, surrounding land, all of Munnings' paintings still in the possession of Lady Munnings, and further amounts of money and investments were made over to the Trust to form the basis of a museum of his works.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Cambridge

United Kingdom

The Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge. It is located on Trumpington Street opposite Fitzwilliam Street in central Cambridge. It was founded in 1816 under the will of Richard FitzWilliam, 7th Viscount FitzWilliam , and comprises one of the best collections of antiquities and modern art in western Europe. With over half a million objects and artworks in its collections, the displays in the Museum explore world history and art from antiquity to the present. The treasures of the museum include artworks by Monet, Picasso, Rubens, Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Van Dyck, and Canaletto, as well as a winged bas-relief from Nimrud. Admission to the public is always free.The museum is a partner in the University of Cambridge Museums consortium, one of 16 Major Partner Museum services funded by Arts Council England to lead the development of the museums sector.

Ashmolean Museum

Oxford

United Kingdom

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's first university museum and Britain's first public museum. Its first building was erected in 1678–1683 to house the cabinet of curiosities that Elias Ashmole gave to the University of Oxford in 1677. The present building was erected 1841–1845. The museum reopened in 2009 after a major redevelopment. In November 2011, new galleries focusing on Egypt and Nubia were unveiled. In May 2016, the museum opened new galleries of 19th-century art.

Tretyakov Gallery

Moscow

Russia

The State Tretyakov Gallery is an art gallery in Moscow, Russia, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. The gallery's history starts in 1856 when the Moscow merchant Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov acquired works by Russian artists of his day with the aim of creating a collection, which might later grow into a museum of national art. In 1892, Tretyakov presented his already famous collection of approximately 2,000 works to the Russian nation.The façade of the gallery building was designed by the painter Viktor Vasnetsov in a peculiar Russian fairy-tale style. It was built in 1902–04 to the south from the Moscow Kremlin. During the 20th century, the gallery expanded to several neighboring buildings, including the 17th-century church of St. Nicholas in Tolmachi. The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits, ranging from Theotokos of Vladimir and Andrei Rublev's Trinity to the monumental Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky and the Black Square by Kazimir Malevich. In 1977 the Gallery kept a significant part of the George Costakis collection. In May 2012, the Tretyakov Art Gallery played host to the prestigious FIDE World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand as the organizers felt the event would promote both chess and art at the same time.

Ulster Museum

Belfast

United Kingdom

The Ulster Museum, located in the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, has around 8,000 square metres of public display space, featuring material from the collections of fine art and applied art, archaeology, ethnography, treasures from the Spanish Armada, local history, numismatics, industrial archaeology, botany, zoology and geology. It is the largest museum in Northern Ireland, and one of the components of National Museums Northern Ireland.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Boston

United States

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, is the 17th largest art museum in the world, measured by public gallery area. It contains more than 450,000 works of art, making it one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas. It is home to 8,161 paintings, surpassed among American museums only by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. With more than 1.2 million visitors a year, it is the 52nd most visited art museum in the world as of 2019. Founded in 1870 in Copley Square, the museum moved to its current Fenway location in 1909. The museum is affiliated with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts.

Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum

Stirling

United Kingdom

Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is an institution based in Stirling, Central Scotland, dedicated to the promotion of cultural and historical heritage and the arts, from a local scale to nationally and beyond. It is also known locally by its original name of "The Smith Institute".

Laing Art Gallery

Newcastle upon Tyne

United Kingdom

The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, is located on New Bridge Street. The gallery was designed in the Baroque style with Art Nouveau elements by architects Cackett & Burns Dick and is now a Grade II listed building. It was opened in 1904 and is now managed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. In front of the gallery is the Blue Carpet. The building is Grade II listed.The gallery collection contains paintings, watercolours and decorative historical objects, including Newcastle silver. In the early 1880s, Newcastle was a major glass producer in the world and enamelled glasses by William Beilby are on view along with ceramics , and diverse contemporary works by emerging UK artists. It has a programme of regularly rotating exhibitions and has free entry. The gallery's collection of seminal paintings includes John Martin's dramatic The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as important works by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Edward Burne-Jones ,, Isabella and the Pot of Basil from 1868 by William Holman Hunt, and Ben Nicholson. Local paintings include pictures by Ralph Hedley. There is also an extensive collection of 18th- and 19th-century watercolours and drawings, including work by J. M. W. Turner and John Sell Cotman.

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Bristol

United Kingdom

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is a large museum and art gallery in Bristol, England. The museum is situated in Clifton, about 0.5 miles from the city centre. As part of Bristol Culture it is run by the Bristol City Council with no entrance fee. It holds designated museum status, granted by the national government to protect outstanding museums. The designated collections include: geology, Eastern art, and Bristol's history, including English delftware. In January 2012 it became one of sixteen Arts Council England Major Partner Museums.The museum includes sections on natural history as well as local, national and international archaeology. The art gallery contains works from all periods, including many by internationally famous artists, as well a collection of modern paintings of Bristol. In the summer of 2009 the museum hosted an exhibition by Banksy, featuring more than 70 works of art, including animatronics and installations; it is his largest exhibition yet. It was developed in secrecy and with no advance publicity, but soon gained worldwide notoriety. The building is of Edwardian Baroque architecture and has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building.The standard opening hours are: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am–5pm. The museum is also open 10am-5pm on Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays during Bristol school holidays.

Gallerie dell'Accademia

Venice

Italy

The Gallerie dell'Accademia is a museum gallery of pre-19th-century art in Venice, northern Italy. It is housed in the Scuola della Carità on the south bank of the Grand Canal, within the sestiere of Dorsoduro. It was originally the gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, the art academy of Venice, from which it became independent in 1879, and for which the Ponte dell'Accademia and the Accademia boat landing station for the vaporetto water bus are named. The two institutions remained in the same building until 2004, when the art school moved to the Ospedale degli Incurabili.

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Vienna

Austria

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is an art museum in Vienna, Austria. Housed in its festive palatial building on Ringstraße, it is crowned with an octagonal dome. The term Kunsthistorisches Museum applies to both the institution and the main building. It is the largest art museum in the country and one of the most important museums worldwide. It was opened around 1891 at the same time as the Natural History Museum, Vienna, by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. The two museums have similar exteriors and face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. Both buildings were built between 1871 and 1891 according to plans drawn up by Gottfried Semper and Baron Karl von Hasenauer. The two Ringstraße museums were commissioned by the emperor in order to find a suitable shelter for the Habsburgs' formidable art collection and to make it accessible to the general public. The buildings are rectangular in shape, and topped with a dome that is 60 meters high. The façade was built of sandstone. The inside of the museums is lavishly decorated with marble, stucco ornamentations, gold-leaf and paintings. The staircase of the Kunsthistorisches Museum is equipped with paintings by Gustav Klimt, Ernst Klimt, Franz Matsch, Hans Makart and Mihály Munkácsy.

Guildhall Art Gallery

City of London

United Kingdom

The Guildhall Art Gallery houses the art collection of the City of London, England. It is a stone building in a semi-Gothic style intended to be sympathetic to the historic Guildhall, which is adjacent and to which it is connected internally.

Wallace Collection

Westminster

United Kingdom

The Wallace Collection is a museum in London occupying Hertford House in Manchester Square, the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford. It is named after Sir Richard Wallace, who built the extensive collection, along with the Marquesses of Hertford, in the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection features fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with important holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms and armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 25 galleries. It is open to the public and entry is free.It was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford , who left both it and the house to his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace , whose widow bequeathed the entire collection to the nation. The collection opened to permanent public view in 1900 in Hertford House, and remains there to this day. A condition of the bequest was that no object should ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions. In September 2019, the Board of Trustees announced that they had successfully obtained an Order from the Charity Commission for England & Wales which allowed them to enter into temporary loan agreements for the first time.The United Kingdom is particularly rich in the works of the ancien régime, purchased by wealthy families during the revolutionary sales, held in France after the end of the French Revolution. The triumvirate of The Wallace Collection, Waddesdon Manor and the Royal Collection, all three located in the United Kingdom, forms arguably the largest, most important and extant collection of French 18th-century decorative arts in the world, rivalled only by the triumvirate of the Musée du Louvre, Château de Versailles and Mobilier National in France. The Wallace Collection is a non-departmental public body and the current director is Xavier Bray.

Royal West of England Academy

Bristol

United Kingdom

The Royal West of England Academy is Bristol's oldest art gallery, located in Clifton, Bristol, near the junction of Queens Road and Whiteladies Road. Situated in a Grade 2* listed building, it hosts five galleries and an exhibition programme that celebrates the best of historic and contemporary British art.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

Bournemouth

United Kingdom

The Russell-Cotes Museum is an art gallery and museum in Bournemouth, England. A Grade II* listed building originally known as East Cliff Hall, it is located on the top of the East Cliff, next to the Royal Bath Hotel.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Madrid metropolitan area

Spain

The Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum , named after its founder), or simply the Thyssen, is an art museum in Madrid, Spain, located near the Prado Museum on one of the city's main boulevards. It is known as part of the "Golden Triangle of Art", which also includes the Prado and the Reina Sofia national galleries. The Thyssen-Bornemisza fills the historical gaps in its counterparts' collections: in the Prado's case this includes Italian primitives and works from the English, Dutch and German schools, while in the case of the Reina Sofia it concerns Impressionists, Expressionists, and European and American paintings from the 20th century. With over 1,600 paintings, it was once the second largest private collection in the world after the British Royal Collection. A competition was held to house the core of the collection in 1987–88 after Baron Thyssen, having unsuccessfully sought permission to enlarge his Museum in Lugano , searched for a better-suited location elsewhere in Europe.