Ten More Museums on My Bucket List:
You can read part one here. As with my first list this will likely reflect my interest in archaeology as well as some other extra nerdy things.
1. Natural History Museum in London, England, UK - The Natural History Museum has collections of botanical, entomological, mineralogical, paleontological, and zoological specimens. Some of the specimens were actually collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its astounding dinosaur fossils, as well as for its beautiful architecture. Entry to the museum is free but there is a charge for some special exhibits.
2. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA - The Peabody Museum is associated with Harvard University and is the oldest and largest anthropological museum in the Americas. The museum specializes in North, Central, and South American archaeology and ethnography but there are also exhibits devoted to the rest of the world and there’s a permanent collection from the Pacific Islands. There’s also an Osteological Collection which has both human and non-human primate fossils, remains, and casts from all over the world.
3. National Palace Museum in Shilin, Taipei, Taiwan - The National Palace Museum holds an incredible and vast collection of Chinese artifacts dating back 8000 years and encompassing Chinese history from the Neolithic to the Qing Dynasty. Many of the pieces were collected by ancient Chinese emperors meaning they’re in exquisite condition. The museum is most notable for its antiquities, paintings and calligraphy, and rare books and documents.
4. The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia - The State Hermitage Museum is housed in several buildings including the Winter Palace which was former residence of the Russian emperors. The museum was founded by Catherine the Great and holds the largest collection of paintings in the world. Most people will go here for the Western European Art collection which covers the 13th through 20th centuries in paintings, sculptures and applied arts. However, I am most interested in the Prehistoric Art and Classical and Egyptian Antiquities. There’s also some Italian Renaissance work by Raphael and Michaelangelo I would love to see as well as paintings by Goya. The Knight’s Hall has a large collection of 15th-17th Century Western European arms and armor. If you’re into Russian art you’ll certainly find something you’ll like here.
5. Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany - The Pergamon Museum, like quite a few other European museums mentioned, is basically full of wondrous things excavated or stolen during the colonial age. This museum in particular houses an amazing collection of Near East treasures including the Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon. There’s quite a lot of Islamic art and the reconstructed Pergamon Altar. However, part of the collection was taken by the Russians at the end of WWII and you can find some of it at the aforementioned State Hermitage Museum.
6. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - Also known as the Penn Museum, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is both an educational and research institution. The museum houses a collection of artifacts from the Mediterranean, Near East, Egypt, Mesopotamia, South and East Asia, Mesoamerica, and Africa. In particular, artifacts were brought directly to the museum from excavations in Ur and Tikal and there are also large Egyptian and Chinese exhibits. The Penn Museum even has its own magazine, Expedition. The museum is an important resource for the school’s students. You can buy tickets in advance online and general admission is $15 but it’s $10 if you’re a full-time student and remember to bring your college ID. The museum is also free for University of Pennsylvania students and staff as well as museum members and U.S. military personnel. There are discounts for children and seniors.
7. Naples National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy - The Naples National Archaeological Museum contains a large collection of Roman artifacts from Pompeii, Stabiea, and Herculaneum. All the works are of extremely high quality and it is the most important and prominent archaeological museum in Italy. There are also Greek and Egyptian antiquities. Interestingly there is a Secret Cabinet in the museum which hosts a collection of erotic and sexual items from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Visitors under the age of 14 have to be accompanied by an adult for this section.
8. Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada - The Royal Ontario Museum is dedicated to both natural history and world culture. It’s notable for its collection of dinosaur fossils, minerals, meteorites, Near Eastern and African art, and artifacts related to European and Canadian history. There’s also a large collection of Art Deco items including clothing.
9. Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway - There are two Viking Ship Museums, one in Norway and one in Denmark. I’m talking about the one in Norway. It is part of the Museum of Cultural History of the University of Oslo and houses archaeological findings from several Viking Age excavations. The main attraction are the Oseburg (pictured), Gokstad, and Tune ships but there are other various findings. This is a relatively small museum so it won’t take too long to see everything. However, it’s still a must for Viking fanatics.
10. International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, Illinois. USA - Okay, this one’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re into medicine, anatmoy, forensics, biological anthropology, etc. this is a pretty cool museum. There are exhibits dealing with various aspects of both Western and Eastern medicine. If you’re not in the Chicago area and you’re looking for something a little bit larger you might want to check out the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia which I mentioned in my previous post or the Wellcome Collection in London which I will probably talk about in a future post.