These are some of my favourite museums I have visited so far. Each of these museums left an impression on me through their stories, artwork and the overall atmosphere. Most of these museums are in Europe but I just haven’t had the opportunity to visit many museums in other parts of the world.
Museum of Broken Relationships (Zagreb, Croatia)
Zagreb was the last stop on our two week trip to Croatia. I didn’t know much about the city before arriving but one attraction kept coming up as a must-see sight, the Museum of Broken Relationships. This museum collects objects and stories associated with heartbreak from people around the world. The stories that accompanied each of the objects in this museum were fascinating and heart-wrenching. I read every single story associated with every object in the museum. Several years later, I also visited the sister Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles, California.
Musee Rodin (Paris, France)
One of the reasons I enjoyed the Musee Rodin so much is that it was so peaceful to walk around the sculpture gardens admiring Rodin’s works. It was not as crowded with tourists as many of Paris’ other famous museums. The Musee Rodin in Paris is housed in a mansion known as the Hotel Biron. Auguste Rodin had actually lived in the mansion as a tenant in the early 20th century when it was sold to the French government in 1911. Rodin negotiated to stay in the mansion for the rest of his life in exchange for a donating his sculptures, drawings and antiques. There are exhibits throughout the mansion as well as the surrounding three hectares of land which also include a rose garden and ornamental garden. The highlights of the collection include The Thinker, The Kiss and the Gates of Hell.
Natural History Museum (London, England)
One of the classic museums on London’s Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the Natural History Museum, was one of my favourite museums in London. That is saying a lot considering all of the wonderful museums in London such as the British Museum, Tate Modern, and the National Gallery. And another bonus…many of the museums in London are free!
The Natural History Museum has tons of exhibits covering dinosaurs, mammals, fossils, human evolution, and volcanoes and earthquakes. Some of the highlights include an earthquake simulation room modeled after a Toyko convenience store and the central hall which currently displays a 25 metre blue whale skeleton. At the time I visited the Natural History Museum, the central hall contained a 32 metre long replica of a Diplodocus carnegii dinosaur skeleton which was nicknamed Dippy.
Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA)
New York is another city with tons of amazing museums including The Met, the Guggenheim, and its own Museum of Natural History. But one of my favourite museums in New York is the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Located in mid-town Manhattan, it is one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art including works by van Gogh, Picasso, Pollack and Warhol. It was amazing to see so many of these iconic paintings in person such as van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, and Monet’s Water Lilies. Even the gift store at the MOMA was a highlight with all sorts of clever and stylish home decor items.
Picasso Museum (Barcelona, Spain)
Although the paintings in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona are not his most famous, I enjoyed this museum because it demonstrates the evolution of Picasso’s works. As you work your way through the museum, you are able to experience Picasso’s work as a young art student painting realistic portraits of his family using classical techniques. The museum also features emotional paintings from Picasso’s Blue Period and experimental works from his time in Paris.
The Picasso Museum occupies five palaces from the 13th to 15th centuries in the La Ribera neighbourhood of Barcelona. The palaces had been inhabited by noble families and rich merchants during the Gothic and Baroque periods. The museum opened in 1963 after a revitalization of the neighbourhood.
DDR Museum (Berlin, Germany)
There are many world famous museums on Berlin’s Museum Island including the Neues Museum (Egyptian), Gemaldegalerie (European paintings), and the Altes Musuem (Greek and Roman artifacts). In my short time exploring Berlin I was also able to visit the incredible Pergamon Museum which houses ancient Roman and Greek art collections and Babylonian and Persian antiquities and is named for the Pergamon Altar.
As much as I enjoyed the Pergamon Museum, I loved the DDR Museum even more for its interactive and family friendly exhibits, which presented aspects of daily life for East German citizens in the socialist DDR. The highlight of the museum for me was the reproduction of a fully furnished apartment that was filled with artifacts found in the DDR while it was largely cutoff from the western world. The DDR Museum is located just across the River Spree from Museum Island.