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Art Museum

Plan a visit to a top U.S. art museum.

An art museum offers a unique view of the history and culture of the human race. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
An art museum offers a unique view of the history and culture of the human race.

An art museum offers a unique view of the history and culture of the human race. While many argue that the best art museums are in Europe (such as the Louvre in France), the United States boasts many impressive art museums from coast to coast.

People often do not realize that the contents of each art museum differ dramatically. Art museums display original creations by selected artists from different periods throughout history. Art museums also change their exhibits frequently, so each visit is a new experience.

If you're considering a trip to an art museum, consider visiting one of these impressive art museums in the United States. Always contact a museum before visiting to check for current hours and special exhibits.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)

Located along the edge of Central Park in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (known to many as simply "The Met") is one of the largest and most well-known art museums in the world. Its permanent collection features more than 2 million works of art.

The Met's collection of art includes:

  • A vast wing featuring American samples of paintings, sculptures, drawings, furniture, silver, textiles and glass
  • An arms and armor collection
  • Ancient Egyptian art
  • Classical antique art
  • European paintings and sculptures, including Italian, French, Dutch and Spanish master works


The Met is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, and remains open until 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The museum is closed on Mondays, except for holidays. The price of admission includes access to the main building and the Cloisters Museum and Gardens.

The Museum of Modern Art (New York City)

Another New York landmark, the Museum of Modern Art (or MoMA for short) is located in midtown Manhattan, on 53rd Street, between 5th and 6th avenues. MoMA's permanent collection boasts more than 150,000 works of contemporary art, including:

  • Architectural models and drawings
  • Design objects
  • Drawings
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Prints
  • Sculptures


In addition to art, MoMA also has an impressive media collection of films, videos, stills, scripts, posters and historical documents. The museum library contains more than 300,000 books and periodicals, and the museum archives hold historical documents and thousands of photographs.

The museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hours are extended on Fridays until 8:00 p.m. and admission is free after 4:00 p.m. on Friday evenings. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Instantly recognizable to fans of the Rocky movie series, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the United States. Its collection of over 225,000 artworks include:

  • A Roger van der Weydan altarpiece
  • A large Bathers by Cezanne
  • American art
  • An entire room allocated to works by Philadelphia native Thomas Eakins
  • Impressionist art
  • Marcel Duchamp's mixed-media Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors
  • Modern art
  • Renaissance art


The art museum's main building is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Fridays, it remains open until 8:45 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and the Fourth of July. Every Sunday, admission price is "pay what you wish."

The National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)

The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It is home to one of the world's most impressive collections of Western paintings, sculpture and graphic arts, ranging from the Middle Ages through the 21st century. Highlights include:

  • Renaissance decorative arts
  • 46 wax statuettes by Edgar Degas
  • Honor Daumier's bronze sculptures
  • Works by Picasso, Mir, Matisse, Pollock and Rothko


The Italian Renaissance collection is impressive, featuring works by Titian and Raphael, the only Leonardo painting in the United States (Ginevra de' Benci), as well as:

  • Two panels from Duccio's Maesta
  • The Adoration of the Magi by Fra Angelico and Fillipo Lippi
  • Giorgione's Allendale Nativity
  • Bellini's Feast of the Gods


Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. The gallery is closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Admission is free.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago, located next to Grant Park in Chicago, is well known for its extensive collection of Impressionist and American art. The permanent collection also includes:

  • African sculpture, masks, ceramics, furniture, textiles and beadwork
  • American Indian ceramics, sculpture, textiles, metalwork and figurative art
  • Architectural sketches and drawings
  • European decorative arts
  • European paintings from the Middle Ages to 1900
  • More than 1,500 modern art paintings and sculptures
  • Textiles from all over the world


The art museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Weekend hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum remains open until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays and offers free general admission to guests entering after 5:00 p.m.

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