The USA’s Best Museums

Posted by on June 6, 2013

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Every good tour of the USA, or any country for that matter, comprises a mix of activities. So along with partying the night away, indulging in some extreme sports and tasting the local cuisine, part of the perfect holiday cocktail is a visit to a top notch museum. If you’re yet to plan out your trip to the USA, this website contains some great itineraries to get you started, but before you get distracted, here’s an introduction to some of the USA’s most interesting museums.

Luckily, ‘museum’ is a pretty broad term describing “any building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited”. There’s therefore absolutely no need to endure a trip round the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History if philately doesn’t float your boat.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

An absolute must for art fans, the Met, as it is informally known, is the largest such gallery in the USA and one of the biggest in the entire world, occupying two million square feet of space on Manhattan’s ‘Museum Mile’.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Unsurprisingly, there’s an enormous range of collections contained within featuring pieces of art from across the world, including paintings by Picasso, Greek and Roman artefacts, and musical instruments.

Entrance is ‘pay what you wish’, although the recommended fee is $25 (£16.50). The Met is open from Tuesday to Sunday, with lates on Fridays and Saturdays.

UFO Museum, Roswell

Not everyone’s into art, of course, so if you’re after a museum offering something a bit more quirky, look no further than the UFO Museum in Roswell.

UFO Museum, Roswell

UFO Museum, Roswell

The New Mexico town is known the world over as the site of a purported UFO crash landing in July 1947, which was then allegedly covered up by the US government.

See if you can unravel the mystery at the UFO Museum, where you can research alien encounters in the library, learn more about the infamous Area 51 military base and check out images of mysterious crop circles.

Admission costs just $5 for adults, so there’s no reason not to pop in, even if it’s just to pick up an alien figurine from the gift shop.

Exploratorium, San Francisco

As the cool-sounding name suggests, the Exploratorium is a little more hands-on than your average museum.

Exploratorium, San Francisco

Exploratorium, San Francisco

Located at Pier 15 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero, the Exploratorium features hundreds of exhibits that encourage interaction, including Plankton Populations, which allows you to see what these microscopic organisms look like, and the 12ft by 8ft Giant Mirror, which creates some mind-bending optical illusions.

“Walk toward the mirror from a distance of about nine feet,” advises the museum’s senior scientist, Paul Doherty.

“Your eyes, which are good at locating objects in three dimensions, report to your brain that there’s an image of you hanging upside down between you and the mirror that you can seemingly reach out and high five. That’s amazing!”

California ScienCenter, LA

As the first country to put a man on the moon, the USA is the prime place to learn more about space exploration. And if you’re unable to catch a live launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida, California ScienCenter is the next best thing.

California ScienCenter, LA

California ScienCenter, LA

One of the highlights is the incredible Space Shuttle Endeavour, which flew 25 space missions between 1992 and 2001. See it on display at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. Due to the exhibit’s popularity, visitors must book a time slot.

Photos: BooRad0859, ybonesy, Seb13850, rawmeyn

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