Top Ten North American Museums

Top Ten North American Museums

  1. New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or ‘The Met,’ is an art museum located on the eastern edge of Central Park, along what is known as Museum Mile in New York City. It has a permanent collection containing more than 2 million works of art, divided into 19 curatorial departments. The main building, often referred to simply as “The Met,” is one of the world’s largest art galleries; there is also a much smaller second location in Upper Manhattan, at “The Cloisters,” which features medieval art. Represented in the permanent collection are works of art from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met also maintains extensive holdings of African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine and Islamic art. The museum is also home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, and antique weapons and armor from around the world. A number of notable interiors, ranging from 1st century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met’s galleries. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens. The founders included businessmen and financiers, as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day, who wanted to open a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. It opened on February 20, 1872, and was originally located at 681 Fifth Avenue. As of 2007, the Met measures almost 1⁄4-mile (400 m) long and occupies more than 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2).
  2. Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

    The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been singularly important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world. The museum’s collection offers an unparalleled overview in modern and contemporary art, including works of architecture and design, drawings, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books and artist’s books, film, and electronic media. MoMA’s library and archives hold over 300,000 books, artist books and periodicals, as well as individual files on more than 70,000 artists. The archives contain primary source material related to the history of modern and contemporary art. It also houses an award-winning fine dining restaurant, The Modern, run by Alsace-born chef Gabriel Kreuther.
  3. Smithsonian Institution, USA

    The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities and magazines. Most of its facilities are located in Washington, D.C., but its 19 museums, zoo and 9 research centers include sites in New York City, Virginia and Panama among others. It has over 136 million items in its collections, publishes two magazines named Smithsonian (monthly) and Air & Space (bimonthly), and employs the Smithsonian Police to protect visitors, staff, and the property of the museums.
  4. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA

    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is an art museum in Los Angeles, California. It is located on Wilshire Boulevard along Museum Row in the Miracle Mile vicinity of Los Angeles, adjacent to the George C. Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits. LACMA is the largest encyclopedic museum west of Chicago and attracts nearly one million visitors annually. Its holdings include more than 100,000 works spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present. In addition to art exhibits, the museum features film and concert series throughout the year.
  5. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City, Mexico

           The Museo Nacional de Antropología or National Museum of Anthropology is a national museum of Mexico. Located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Calle Mahatma Gandhi within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, the museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from the pre-Columbian heritage of Mexico, such as the Piedra del Sol (the Stone of the Sun, what has been incorrectly identified as the Aztec calendar) and the 16th century Aztec statue of Xochipilli.
    Links: Top Ten Mexican Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures,
  6. Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada

    The Art Gallery of Ontario is an art museum in Toronto’s Downtown Grange Park district, on Dundas Street West between McCaul Street and Beverley Street. Its collection includes more than 80,000 works spanning the 1st century to the present-day. The gallery has 45,000 square m (480,000 square ft) of physical space, making it one of the largest galleries in North America. Significant collection include the largest collection of Canadian art, an expansive body of works from the Renaissance and the Baroque eras, European art, African and Oceanic art, and a modern and contemporary collection. The photography collection is a large part of the collection, as well as an extensive drawing and prints collection. The museum contains many significant sculptures, such as in the Henry Moore sculpture center, and represents other forms of art like film and video art, graphic art, installations, architecture, and ship models. During the AGO’s history, it has hosted some of the world’s most renowned and significant exhibitions, and continues to do so, to this day. Over the last three decades, the gallery has seen four major expansions and renovations, typically considered a high amount and unseen by most galleries of the world, and continues to add spaces today. The gallery recently built the Weston Family Learning Centre, and is building a David Milne Research Centre, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. It’s last major renovations have seen architects like John C. Parkin, Barton Myers, KPMB Architects, and most recently, Frank Gehry. There is a extensive library, student spaces, gallery workshop space, artist-in-residence, a high-end restaurant, cafe, espresso bar, research center, Gehry-designed gift shop, and an event space called the Baillie Court, taking up the entirety of the 3rd floor.
    Links: Top Ten Canadian Attractions, Top 100 Photographs, Top Ten Paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Top Ten Architectural Works by Frank Gehry,,
  7. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba

    The National Museum for Fine Arts was founded in 1913, and was first housed in a building in Centro Habana. In 1954, architect Esteban Rodríguez Pichardo designed the new headquarters in Trocadero Street, between Zulueta and Monserrate at the edge of Old Havana. In 1957, the famous Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier described the building as one of the best museums on the American continent. A fundamental reconstruction, combined with an extension of two additional buildings, was begun in 1999 under the leadership of architect José Linares Ferrera. The National Museum for Fine Arts was re-opened on 18 July 2001. The National Museum’s entire collection currently contains 48,000 works, of which approximately 2,000 are shown at the two exhibition venues. In the headquarters in Trocadero Street, one can see Cuban art from the colonial period through the 19th century, 20th century avant-garde, and the new generations since the 1950’s up to young artists of the 1990’s. In the former Centro Asturiano, portions of the extensive international art collection are on display, including: antiquity (ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece), European paintings from the 15th to 20th century (Spain, Germany, Flemish masters, Holland, France, Italy, Great Britain), as well as paintings from North and Latin America.
    Links: Top Ten Cuban Attractions,,
  8. Links: Top Ten Art Museums, Galleries and Museums, Top 100 North American Paintings, Top Ten North American Painters,