One of the most common places to visit while vacationing in a foreign country is the museum. Affordable and beautiful, a museum will tell you everything you need to know about the culture and traditions of the country you’re visiting. It’s a great chance to get a glimpse at a piece of history, which will make you understand what that particular country is all about. And since people like to visit museums, ten of them have reported an incredible number of worldwide visitors. Here are ten most visited museums in 2012.
1. Louvre Museum (Paris) – 9.7 million visitors
The Louvre is probably the most famous art museum in the world and certainly one of the largest art institutions. Louvre provides those who visit art collections starting with the ancient and reaching half of the nineteenth century. The majority of those who visited it say the same thing: you can spend entire days in the museum and still not see everything.
2. Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) – 6.1 million visitors
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, best known as the MET, is one of the most important art museums in the world, given its collection of over two million pieces, divided into no less than 19 sections. Here are various works of art since ancient times (including a rich collection of Egyptian art and artifacts), the great works of European masters, rich collections of American art, and the works of African, Asian, Byzantine, Islamic art. Besides works of art, at the MET you can also find vast collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, antique weapons and armor from around over the world.
3. British Museum (London) – 5.5 million visitors
British Museum was founded in 1753, based on the collections of Sir Hans Sloane and was established in its current location in 1823. Sir Hans Sloane left approximately 80,000 objects to posterity. In the galleries of the museum (the oldest museum in the world) are exposed objects depicting almost every aspect of the cultural history of the world.
4. Tate Modern (London) – 5.3 million visitors
From 1995 to 2000, the abandoned power station, Bankside, was transformed into the main attraction of the London art world. Tate Modern is one of the largest and finest art museums in the world, focusing on works produced from 1900 to the present. The paintings are rotated regularly, but the great works of twentieth century artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Dali, Rothko Warho and are on permanent display.
5. National Gallery (London) – 5.1 million visitors
National Gallery was founded in 1824 when the House of Commons voted to purchase the collections of paintings of banker John Angerstein. The 38 paintings were first exhibited at Angerstein’s house Pall Mall. Nowadays, the National Gallery has one of the most interesting painting collections of Europe, which is exhibited in a building built specifically in central London. As the National Gallery building was expanded and developed over the years, the collection also expanded to over 2,300 works of art.
6. Vatican Museum – 5.06 million visitors
Vatican Museums were founded under the patronage of two Popes in the eighteenth century – Clement XIV and Pius VI. They were among the first who allowed access to art collections, thus promoting culture among the masses. The first building of the museum complex, Pio-Clementine Museum was named after these two pontiffs.
7. National Palace Museum (Taipei) – 4.3 million visitors
The National Palace Museum is an art museum in the city of Taipei. It is the national museum of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and has a permanent collection of 700 000 ancient artifacts and works of art from China, turning it into one of the largest in the world.
8. National Gallery of Art (Washington) – 4.2 million visitors
Founded in 1937, the National Gallery is a true museum, open to the public, admitting no entrance fee and it was built with money received from Andrew W. Mellon, who donated part of his collection of works of art that is now in the Gallery.
9. Centre Pompidou (Paris) – 3.8 million visitors
Centre Pompidou, dedicated to modern and contemporary creations, is located in the heart of Paris. For several years it was the most visited museum in Paris, this honor was only recently returned to the Louvre.
10. Musée d’Orsay (Paris) – 3.6 million visitors
The building that houses the Musée d’Orsay is a former railway station, Gare d’Orsay, built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900. The station was the end point of the railways of southwestern France until 1939, when its platforms became too small for the new trains that had entered in circulation. It continued to be used for smaller regional trains and part of it became the post office during the Second World War.