Whether it’s art, history or science, museum all over the world offer windows to past culture and a reflection of human creativity. From big names such as the Louvre in Paris and The Met in New York to smaller, more niche museums around the globe, each has something unique to offer.
The top five most visited museums in the world in 2021 include the Egyptian Museum, The British Museum, Louvre and Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. The Louvre, which has topped the list of most visited museums since 2018, boasts a massive collection of antiquities from ancient Egypt and includes famous works such as the Mona Lisa and the Rosetta Stone. It is also home to the Louvre Pyramid which has become a landmark for tourists visiting the museum.
London’s renowned British Museum, which was originally established as an homage to the research of Sir Hans Sloane in 1759, ranks third on the list of most popular museums. With over eight million visitors per year, it houses a huge collection of objects spanning all aspects of human history and culture and contains famous historical artifacts such as the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon.
Paris is well represented on the list of top museums with three entries, the Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art. The Musee d’Orsay is one of the largest art museums in Europe and has a massive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist pieces by artists such as Monet, Van Gogh and Munch. The Louvre, meanwhile, has the biggest collection of painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the world and is usually crowded with selfie-stick wielding tourists.
Despite being one of the youngest museums in the rankings, The National Art Center in Tokyo is the sixth most-visited museum in the world. Unlike most other museums that house a permanent collection, the National Art Center does not have any permanent artworks and instead hosts exhibitions. This approach means that it can easily move up and down the ranking depending on which exhibitions are being held there.
A new entry to the list of top museums is Madrid’s Reina Sofia. This art museum has a great reputation in its home country of Spain and is the seventh most-visited museum worldwide. However, it has a relatively low global ranking which may be because of the fact that it does not host as many exhibitions as some of its fellow top museums.
The Brooklyn Museum is the ninth most-visited museum in the world and is a major destination for art and cultural enthusiasts. Its collection features art from all over the world, including works by American modernists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. It also has a significant collection of Native American art. The Museum has a long tradition of working with Indigenous communities in the United States and has prioritized repatriation of ancestors’ belongings, sacred objects and burial items as part of its provenance process.