The United States of America (or good old ‘USA’) remains one of the largest and most economically powerful country in the world, although the nation’s Congress only voted to declare independence from British rule in 1776.
Despite this, the USA boasts a diverse and unique cultural heritage that has been forged by years of immigration, the nation’s tolerance of others, and its reputation as being home to the coveted ‘American Dream’.
This heritage is reflected by a swathe of museums and galleries in the USA, many of which host regular events and collections all-year-round. You can find out more here about the best art museums in the US, but we’ve outlined three of the most popular museums across the board in the article below:
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland
The Cleveland Museum of Art may not be as well-known or highly thought of as some venues in the USA, but it’s certainly home to one of the largest and most diverse collections anywhere in the world.
To provide some context, the museum hosts more than 60,000 pieces of art and sculpture from across the globe, making it the single most popular US destination for fans of worldwide artistic trends and influences.
Of particular interest in the museum’s collection of Asian art, while it also has an iconic and popular decorative art wing that includes some particularly unusual pieces.
Visitors can also enjoy the works of famous Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, who is considered to be one of the most influential artists in Western history.
However, we’d argue that the venue’s main selling point is its unique photography wing, which as you can imagine boasts an incredibly broad range of stunning and historically important images.
Particularly popular are images of the ‘Dust Bowl’ during the Great Depression. This captured the poverty and drought-stricken southern plains of the US, which suffered severe dust storms through the early 1930s. People and livestock were killed as crops failed throughout the region, with this considered to be a truly dark period in American history that has been captured largely in image form.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s exhaustive art collection is also available to see for free, so what’s stopping you heading down there today?
The American Museum of Natural History, New York
New York is home to a few excellent museums, including the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (which recently hosted a fascinating display focused on the Tudors).
However, the pick of the bunch is the ‘American Museum of Natural History’, which has in excess of 32 million specimens preserved within its walls for the enjoyment and education of the general public.
One of the best science museums in the world, let alone the USA, this entity is home to some truly astonishing features. Here, for example, you’ll get to see unique dinosaur fossils, preserved elk, and even fascinating underwater creatures from different times and locations, affording you an education that you simply won’t get anywhere else.
Don’t forget, you’ll also get to check out one of the largest collections of fossil mammals and dinosaurs in the world, so the American Museum of Natural History is ideal if this is a particular point of interest.
The National Museum of American History, Washington D.C.
Like NYC, Washington D.C. is also home to a number of popular museums, from the poignant Holocaust Memorial to the USA’s National Gallery of Art.
However, it’s the National Museum of American History that really dominates here, and the best thing we can say about this venue is that it actually manages to do justice to the nation’s incredible history and rich mix of cultures.
It’s huge range of exhibits covers a wide range of timeframes, from the lives of indigenous communities and tribes before the age of European colonisation to the present day.
If you’re a Civil War buff, you’ll also find original letters sent during this period here, creating a unique insight into the period and the minds of those who were involved at different levels of the conflict.
If you’re a little younger, you may prefer the venue’s props section, which features iconic items that were used in the most famous and beloved movies of all-time in many instances.
Regardless, it’s a truly incredible location and one of the very best museums in the whole of the USA, and it should be your first port of call if you’re serious about learning North American history in a fun and immersive setting.