Whether you've always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, Impressionist art, or simply the bizare, these six world class museums contain fun-filled displays for everyone. But you may not even be aware of them.
1. Sir John Soane's Museum: London, England
A visit to the historic house, museum, and library of noted 19th-century architect Sir John Soane is not your average day out. Throughout his life, Sir John created what the Oxford Dictionary of Architecture calls "one of the most complex, intricate, and ingenious series of interiors ever conceived."
In accordance with Soane's wishes, the house has been left virtually untouched since his death, and has stood as his gift to posterity for nearly 180 years. Sir John was an obsessive collector of the art, drawings, architectural models, and artifacts, and these line virtually every square inch of the walls of his home. From paintings of famous artists to a sarcophagus of alabaster that was carved for the Pharaoh Seti I (1291-78 BC), a day at Sir John's promises to be one of the most interesting museum experiences of a lifetime. Best of all: admission is free!
2. Florence Griswold Museum: Old Lyme, CT, USA
At the turn of the 20th century, a ship captain's daughter named Florence Griswold decided to turn her family's sprawling Georgian mansion into a home for the most talented artists of her time. It would go on to become the center of the Lyme Art Colony, out of which sprang some of the greatest masterpieces of American Impressionism.
Today, the mansion has been turned into a museum where visitors can see a vast collection of art, including many works which were painted by former residents such as Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, and Matilda Browne. You'll even see works that some of the artists painted directly onto the doors and panels of the house. You're also welcome to walk through the lush gardens on the 13-acre property.
3. Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA): Cancun, Mexico
Where do you go if you want to see one of the coolest museums in Mexico? As it turns out, you'll have to pay a visit to the ocean floor.
Located from 9-20 feet below the surface of one of the clearest bodies of water in the world, the Museo Subacuático de Arte includes 500 life-sized sculptures depicting everything from local residents to South American celebrities. This underwater art gallery is even eco-friendly, as the sculptures are made from special materials that promote the growth of coral reef. You can get an up close and personal look at the artwork by snorkeling or scuba diving down to visit, or you can view it from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat.
4. Museum Island: Berlin, Germany
Perhaps the only thing better than discovering one of the world's best museums is discovering five of them at once. This UNESCO heritage site is actually five museums, all located along the river Spree on their own "island." All five boast their own unique collections, and each is easily worthy of half a day's exploration.
A trip to the island affords you the chance to gaze upon several relics of the ancient world, including the famous bust of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, the Ishtar Gate, and the Pergamon Altar. Here you'll find world-class collections of art and arcana, including items from Ancient Egypt, Byzantium, and prehistoric kingdoms whose names are long forgotten.
Not only are these museums all located in one convenient place, you can also explore them all for the price of one!
5. Miraikan: Daiba, Tokyo, Japan
If you've always been fascinated by science, or wondered what the future of humanity might hold, then a trip to Miraikan should make your to-do list. This cutting-edge Japanese museum invites visitors to check out state of the art exhibitions showcasing the latest discoveries in science and technology. You can also as attend various classes and talks. At Miraikan, you can visit a hands-on model of the Internet, take a virtual trip to space, and even meet the museum's humanoid robots. Though no one may be able to say for sure exactly what the future holds, a visit to Miraikan will leave you well-equipped to make an educated guess.
6. The Egyptian Museum: Cairo, Egypt
How do you pack 5,000 years of Egyptian history into an afternoon? With a trip to the must-see Egyptian Museum in Cairo! As you might expect, it's home to the world's most extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities, including the famous golden mask of the teenaged Pharaoh Tutankhamun. The museum spans 110 halls, housing over 160,000 artifacts from the prehistoric through the pharaonic eras.
From ancient statuettes of divinities to royal mummies, no trip to Egypt is complete without allowing yourself a firsthand look at the marvels of the great civilization that sprung up along the Nile in the morning of the world.
Whether you long to explore the world of underwater art, or to take a simulated trip into space, we hope one of these museums will add a bit of fun and fascination to your next great adventure!