Museums are a place of collective memory, a place where we allocate space and place reverence on objects that allow us to recollect about the past and understand how our lives and histories intersect with one another. They preserve our heritage, and allow the public to gain a greater understanding of the past so we can make better decisions in the future. Whether you’re a historian, anthropologist, or someone with a genuine interest in where we come from, America is a treasure trove of museums, great and small. Here are the Top 10 Best Museums in the USA:
Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, New York
The American Natural History Museum is one that should be visited by everyone at some point in their lives. Past exhibitions include everything from Darwin’s Finches, the largest spiders in the world and royalty like Tutankhamen. The museum houses artifacts from the full spectrum of human evolution, North American ecology, samples from million year old meteorites and land masses, and of course, dinosaurs!
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas
This historic site sees a whopping 2.5 million visitors annually, most of whom are Americans, reiterating its importance in American history. Renown for its roll in the bloody Texas Revolution, the building was originally constructed as a mission 1718 close to the headwaters of San Pedro Creek. It was here that beloved folk heroes like Jim Bowie, William Barrett Travis and Davie Crockett met their demise.
325 Fifth Avenue North, Seattle, Washington
A funky combination of glassed exhibits, multi-media displays and hands-on, interactive exhibits allow the museum goer to explore all facets of rock music. Museum creator, Microsoft big whig demonstrates his undying love for Jimmy Hendrix with artifacts you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial
1 Arizona Memorial Pl, Honolulu, Hawaii
On December 7, 1941, Peal Harbor endured a surprise attack by 353 Japanese fighter planes. The American casualty rate was devastating with a loss of 188 U.S. aircraft, the sinking of four aircraft carriers and 2,402 Americans fell to their watery death. The Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial is a testament to the bravery of those men and women who lost their lives.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York
As one of the most visited art museums in the world, and with 5 million culture enthusiasts flocking to the steps of the Met, this museum will keep you entertained for hours on end. The collection here is rich, with artifacts and exhibitions from Roman statues, Rembrandt paintings, and ancient Chinese vases.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
4th St. and Independence Ave., SW. Washington, DC
Washington’s Smithsonian Museum is without a doubt, one of the most impressive museums in the world, but the National Museum of the American Indian should be your first stop. With artifacts dating back to the ancient pre-Columbian civilizations, a blend of feature films, live music and dance performances, tours and lectures, these are America’s true roots.
The National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN
Located at the site of famous Lorraine Motel, a visit to this historic site is a truly emotional experience. Originally a 1925 “white” establishment, the motel became owned by blacks after World War II. Because of this, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. chose to stay here during a Memphis visit. Sadly, this would also be the place where Dr. King drew his last breath when he was assassinated on the balcony of his hotel room on April 4th of 1968.
1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Occupying some 750 acres of land in the beautiful foothills of Santa Monica, this museum could easily take three or four days to wander. The Getty Museum is bursting with unique collections, designed to stir curiosity, and present the finest in visual arts. The surrounding gardens and jaw dropping architecture make the Getty a must-see museum in the state of California.
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
Flanked by the famously photographed bronze lions, the Art Institute of Chicago houses a fantastic collection of sculptures, prints, paintings, drawings, textiles, architectural drawings and video. This approachable art museum boasts masterful works even the most green of art lovers would recognize such as Van Gogh and Monet.
1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio
Nestled on the edge of Lake Erie in Cleveland Ohio, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the epitome of the multimedia experience. With 7 expansive floors, 4 theaters and a hundreds of interactive exhibits, and more memorabilia than you could possibly imagine, this museum is worth a trip to Cleveland, even if it’s the only thing you do!