History shows us glimpses of the past, which gives us context for the present and a sense of the future. With this in mind, there’s no better way to experience this phenomenon than seeing it for yourself at a history museum. Around the world, there are thousands of museums dedicated to showcasing all kinds of history—from natural history to art history (and everything in between). Out of those thousands, we take a dive into five history museums that are definitely worth packing your bags and visiting for an unforgettable experience. Keep reading for five of the world’s best history museums to put on your bucket list!
1. American Museum of Natural History – New York, NY
For all things natural history, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is the place to go. This museum explores the diversity and evolution of life on Earth with an array of educational programs, exhibits and artifacts. The AMNH is particularly known for their extensive dinosaur fossil collection, which features about 100 dinosaur fossil specimens. You can also find other exhibits and galleries delivering into subjects like astronomy, biology, geology. (Learn more about American Museum of Natural History and plan your visit at amnh.org.)
2. Accademia Gallery – Florence, Italy
If you enjoy historical art, the Accademia Gallery certainly won’t disappoint. This museum embodies art history through through a collection of sculptures and paintings that have stood the test of time. One of the main draws of this museum is that it houses Michelangelo’s infamous statue of David, but that’s not the only highlight. You can find works of art from Italian painting including Andrea del Sarto and Orcagna. Also, you’ll experience unique sections within Accademia Gallery such as the Museum of Musical Instruments, which features a vast collection of harpsichords, string, wind and instruments dating back to the 1600s. (Learn more about Accademia Gallery and plan your visit at Accademia.org.)
3. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation – Detroit, MI
To understand the role that innovation and resourcefulness has played in shaping America, visit the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. This museum boasts a collection of artifacts that stretch back 300 years of US history. There are a range of exhibits in this museum, detailing advancements in American furniture, the cultural significance of auto racing in this country and fashion over the years–to name a few. Ultimately, the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation (Learn more about the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and plan your visit at thehenryford.org/visit/henry-ford-museum.)
4. Museum of London Docklands – London, UK
London is widely considered to be one of the cultural and financial hubs of the world, and you can uncover the city’s history by going to the Museum of London Docklands. This museum offers a look into London’s role in importing and exporting global goods and commodities. The museum also explores how London’s Docklands were the world’s largest active port area until the docks were heavily damaged due to the city being the target of a World War II bombing attack. There are also several exhibits that highlight London’s cultural influence on the world such as the upcoming Fashion City exhibit, which fashion curator Lucie Whitmore says will be “a real celebration of the excellence of London fashion, highlighting the skill and creativity of London’s immigrant communities.” (Learn more about the Museum of London Docklands and plan your visit at museumoflondon.org.uk.)
5. Musée d’Orsay – Paris, France
The Musée d’Orsay is a must-see destination as it houses a great number of works by Impressionist era artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro. In addition to the collection of paintings and sculptures, this museum displays a wide range of historic photography, architecture and decorative pieces. Essentially, if you love seeing art every dimension then make the Musée d’Orsay a top priority the next time you’re in Paris! (Learn more about the Musée d’Orsay and plan your visit at musee-orsay.fr/en.)
Looking for more travel inspiration? Read our story on the best places to travel domestically and internationally as a beginner.
Featured image credit: Photo of the American Museum of Natural History via Expedia.com