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8 Best Museums You Need to Visit Around the World

Ever wonder how many museums there are in the world? Well, there are an estimated 55,000 and that’s not counting the collection of pocket lint you’ve had on display in your basement. And of those 55,000, roughly 30,000 are in the U.S. By definition, a museum is, “a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited,” the cultural interest being very broad. But the question remains, of the 55,000 museums, which ones do you need to visit?

Chichu Art Museum

Naoshima, Japan

Chichu Art Museum

Built directly in the landscape of Naoshima Island, the Chichu Art Museum is as much a displayed work of art as any of the pieces within the museum walls. Literally translating to “art museum in the earth,” the Chichu Museum is home to works from Walter de Maria, James Turrel, and even Claude Monet. But being built primarily underground, Chichu looks beyond framed work and evokes the question of the relationship between nature and people. The light used to show the works is mainly natural, from the overpassing sun, causing the appearance of each exhibit to shift from open to close. Make a point to spend the day at the Chichu Art Museum because what you see in the morning will be very different from what you see in the afternoon.

The International UFO Museum and Research Center

Roswell, New Mexico

The International UFO Museum and Research Center

Whether you’ve played the original arcade game Area 51, seen Independence Day, or recently signed the Storm Area 51 petition, you know a thing or two about aliens and their association with Roswell. The International UFO Museum and Research Center located in downtown Roswell has come to be the informer of all things related to the 1947 Roswell Incident with visual and audio evidence. Any UFO happenings around the world will be found at the International UFO Museum and all the exhibits and information are always up to date. Remember in Men in Black when K showed J the picture of the young man handing the aliens a bouquet of flowers? That picture is the Roswell Incident and the premise of this museum.

MoMA Museum of Modern Art

New York, New York

MoMA - Museum of Modern Art

If you’re going to be in the Big Apple, then you need to go to MoMA. With an evolving collection of over 200,000 works of art from the last 150 years, MoMA will give you a reason to return. The MoMA exhibits expand beyond print, paint, sculpture, and even performance pieces — including Jay Z performing Picasso Baby. The MoMA houses some of the best art in the world, extending from masters like Vincent van Gogh to others who are lesser-known but deserving of more attention. Expect to spend the day touring around the museum and at closing time, preparation for your return visit begins.

MoSA Museum of Street Art

New York, New York

MoSA - Museum of Street Art

The always-evolving MoSA is a showcase of artists, spanning the entire 20-floor staircase of the citizenM New York Bowery hotel. Originally, a museum without walls in Queens, NY at the 5 Pointz location, the space was whitewashed and, soon thereafter, demolished. The now staircase museum is a display of 20 aerosol artists from around the world and while it is graffiti art, the murals never have the potential of being vandalized or destroyed. Some 400 hours and 500 spray cans were used to “move” the MoSA from 5 Pointz to the citizenM hotel, and where some of the aesthetics may have been lost in the move from Queens to Lower Manhattan, the heart and soul of the artists will continue to live on.

Museum of the Mummies

Guanajuato, Mexico

Museum of the Mummies

Perhaps this is what nightmares are made of, as the Museum of the Mummies boasts the world’s largest collection of natural mummies. However, this is not to say that the mummies on exhibit are from around the world; the 54 preserved corpses all came from the neighboring Municipal Pantheon of Santa Paula. The Museo de las Momias is a Site Museum not for the faint of heart. As you walk within its walls, the once-living stand erect as if frozen in time.

Natural History Museum

Vienna, Austria

Natural History Museum

You’ve probably been to a few natural history museums and know what to expect. But just as each museum differs from the next, so does the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien with 39 exhibit halls displaying dinosaur skeletons, the 29,500-year-old Venus of Willendorf, the world’s largest and oldest public collection of meteorites, and newly added digital planetarium that will take you and friends on a virtual journey through the Milky Way. Much of history can be read in books, but some things need to be experienced in person and seen with your own two eyes, including the offerings of the Natural History Museum of Vienna and the 200-year extinct Steller sea cow.

LUMEN Museum of Mountain Photography

Brunico BZ, Italy

Would the Museum of Mountain Photography be at home anywhere else than on top of an Italian mountain? LUMEN, recently the location of the Red Bull Illume competition, was previously the first cable car gondola building in the world and with a new gondola, the LUMEN was renovated to the museum it is today. The LUMEN is 4 floors of mountain photography and artifacts that always paying homage to the surroundings of the mountain museum. LUMEN offers a one-of-a-kind experience where the exhibits define a culture.

Museum of Bad Art

Somerville, Ma

Museum of Bad Art

Imagine a collection of art that was displayed on your fridge while you were growing up, or just about anyone’s work from a grade school art class. That’s what you get at the Museum of Bad Art. the MoBA consists of 3 locations on the outskirts of Boston with a permanent collection of 700 works and 30-35 on display at any given time per location. The MoBA is all about art that is too bad to be ignored and glorifying works that never made it out of the parent’s basement or the common Paint and Sip. You will laugh, you will cry, and you’ll think back on all your “great” works from years prior and wish the MoBA had wall space for your cat portrait.

Editors' Recommendations

Ben Hitch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ben Hitch, well, he's the first of his name and one hell of a character. You can find him exploring the streets of San Diego…
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