When was the last time you took your family to a museum?
Museums are fun and inspiring ways to explore science, nature, history, art, and more. They can enhance your children’s understanding of the subject they’re exploring and the world at large. What’s more, a day at the museum is the stuff family memories are made of. What could be better?
Here are seven must-see museums across the United States that you need to put on your travel list—or your weekend list, if you have one in your backyard!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
The largest art museum in the United States, The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers extensive collections from antiquity to the modern day. The enormity of the Met can be overwhelming, so it’s highly recommended that you pick a focus and plan your visit accordingly.
Among the most famous works you’ll be able to see at the Met are “Aristotle with a Bust of Homer” by Rembrandt, “The Death of Socrates” by Jacques-Louis David, “Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints” by Raphael, and “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emmanuel Leutze. Visiting this extraordinary museum is an experience everyone should have.
Plus, if you need a break while you’re there, you can enjoy this museum’s outstanding location in Central Park.
National Air and Space Museum, Washington
Any family trip to Washington means visiting at least some of the museums that are administered by the Smithsonian Institution. The National Air and Space Museum is an interesting and fun place to start.
Complete with an IMAX theater, a planetarium, and awe-inspiring collections featuring familiar and impressive artifacts, including the Wright Brother’s first successful flyer, the National Air and Space Museum is very family friendly and one the kids won’t soon forget.
Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia
Arguably the best living history museum in the country, Colonial Williamsburg brings our nation’s history to life. The opposite of reading a dry textbook, a trip to Colonial Williamsburg will enhance and solidify your children’s understanding of this important time in history. Especially at a time when schools are watering down formally robust history curricula, here you can dive in with your family, for a trip you’ll all enjoy.
The Art Institute of Chicago
If you find yourself traveling through the Midwest, detour to The Art Institute of Chicago. It has artwork from ancient Rome, Egypt, Greece, to Africa and Asia, and some famous works from Europe and America as well. There’s something for everyone, and a great cultural experience is guaranteed.
The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan
Dearborn’s Henry Ford Museum goes way beyond cars, as it explores the history of the Industrial Revolution at the most apropos location imaginable. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you can see the presidential limousine where John F. Kennedy was assassinated, a replica of Thomas Edison’s laboratory, the bus that Rosa Parks rode, and more. If you’re up that way, don’t miss it.
The Getty Center in Los Angeles
On the West Coast, is possibly the newest museum on the list—The Getty Center of Los Angeles. Opened in 1997, it’s where you’ll find pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; 19th- and 20th-century American and international photographs; and Robert Irwin’s Central Garden.
Kennedy Space Center, Titusville, Florida
Budding astronauts and stargazers will love the Visitor Complex at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Titusville. Featuring two IMAX theaters, informative bus tours, and exciting exhibits such as the Space Shuttle Atlantis orbiter. If you time your visit right, you may even catch a rocket launch!
National WWII Museum, New Orleans
The history of World War II may not be the first thing you think of when you think of New Orleans, but it’s home to the acclaimed National WWII Museum (formerly known as the National D-Day Museum), which dives deep into a part of history we must not forget.
As its website puts it, “The National WWII Museum’s exhibits cover the epic and global scale of the war that changed the world, in a voice that is intimate and personal. Exhibits not only highlight the role of world leaders, but also the everyday men and women who found the strength and courage to accomplish the extraordinary.”