Best Museums In The World Cultural Studies Essay

By: Shamma Al Jattal

Instructor: Dr. Calvin Lee

Course: BUS602


10 Best Museums in the



There are a lot of museum around the world. But as a visitor or customer, how can I know what the best museums around the world are. In this report, I will list down the 10 best museums in the world based on overview research. And I will be comparing between each other and the services they provide. After that I will be comparing the best international museum with local museum within United Arab Emirates.

Description: Background/History

According to, below museums are the categorized in the top 10 because of its popular or even importance from its collections or architecture.

Number 10: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Number 9: The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia

Number 8: The Prado, Madrid, Spain

Number 7: The Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.

Number 6: Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt

Number 5: The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

Number 4: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, NY

Number 3: The British Museum, London, UK

Number 2: The Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Italy

Number 1: Le Louvre, Paris, France

The arrangement of these museums differs from one site to another, but all of them had the Le Louvre, Paris as the best museum in the world. So let’s see the history and the background of each museum according to the above arrangement:

The Rijksmuseum:

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THE HISTORY BLOG (1895-1905) An old image of The Rijksmuseum building from the 1800s century [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

This museum is located in Amsterdam and it is considered as the largest and most prestigious museum that is dedicated for art and history in the Netherlands. The museum was founded in 1800 to exhibit the collections of the Dutchstadtholders. The design and architect was inspired by French. In 1808 the museum moved from The Hague to Amsterdam.Rijksmuseumhas a very large collection such as paintings from the Dutch Golden Age andworks by Vermeer and Rembrandt and the famous painting "The Night Watch" by the artist Rembrandt.In 2013, the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum’s main building will be closed for renovations for 10 years.

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REMBRANDT (1624) An image of the painting "The Night Watch" that is displayed in The Rijksmuseum [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

The State Hermitage:

The State Hermitage museum was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and in the 18th century started as the Empress Catherine II private collections and nowadays, became one of the largest museums in the world that holds more than 3 million collections of art and culture. The museum owns priceless works by Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Reubens and more.

G:\Dr. Calvin Lee\800px-RIAN_archive_688851_The_State_Hermitage_in_St__Petersburg.jpg

VLADIMIR VYATKIN (2003) An image of the internal view of the State Hermitage museum [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

The Prado:


RAFAEL RAMIRES LEE Image of The Prado external building [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

The Prado building which was build and designed in 1785 by architect Juan de Villanueva and it was built by the orders of King Charles III to house the Natural History Cabinet. The Museo del Prado Museum which is located in central Madrid, is considered the main Spanish national art museum, It features Collection from the former Spanish Royal; the 12th century to the early 19th century; world's finest collections of European art. One of the main attractions to the museum is the "Three Graces" painting by Rubens.

The Smithsonian:

Founded with funds from British scientist James Smithson (1765-1829), in 1846 in Washington, D.C, the Smithsonian museums is considered the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museumsand galleriessuch as the African American History and Culture Museum, Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum, American History Museum, American Indian Museum, Freer Gallery of Art, Portrait Gallery and Anacostia Community Museum. It also has the National Zoological Park, 9 research facilities and more than 142 million objects that represents the country's most important memories.

Egyptian Museum:

The Egyptian government established the "Service des Antiques de l'Égypte" in 1835 to mainly stop the plundering of archeological sites and to organize the exhibition of collected artifacts. In 1900, the Egyptian Museum was built which now holds more than 120,000 objects from the pre-historic era to the Greco-Roman period, and it includes the ancient sculptures of the Sphinx.


Image of Tutankhamun from the back of his gold throne [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

The main attraction in the museum is the tombs of kings and royal families, especially the ones that belongs to King Tutankhamun.

The Uffizi Gallery:

In 1560, Cosimo I de’ Medici the first Grand Duke of Tuscany ordered to build the administrative and judiciary offices of Florence "uffizi" (which means in Italian language "offices"). The building was designed by Cosimo’s favorite artist, Giorgio Vasari. In 1581 Francesco I de’ Medici, Cosimo’s son, changed it to a gallery. Nowadays, Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous museums in the world with the finest collections of paintings and sculptures on the planet and unique artworks and masterpieces conserved. One of the main attractions of the museums is the painting by Botticelli "The Birth of Venus".

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art:

In 1866 in France, a group of Americans agreed to create a "national institution and gallery of art" to bring art and art education to the American people. In 1870the museum was built in New York and has more than two million works of art collected from around the world that are from ancient through modern times such as Islamic art and European paintings. The main attraction of the museums is the well-known engraving by Albrecht Dürer "Adam and Eve".


Image of The Metropolitan Museum Of Art in New York [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

The British Museum:

The British Museum was founded in 1753London, UK, which is the world’s first national public museum. Visitor numbers have grown from eighteenth century from 5,000 visitors a year to nearly 6 million today.The British Museum is now one of the greatest museums in the world with a large collection of seven million artifacts, and the main attraction is the magnificent domed grandeur of the Reading Room.


Image of the Reading Room of the British Museum [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

The Vatican Museums:


Image of the Inside of the Vatican Museums [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

The Vatican Museums was founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century in Vatican City, Italy and it started with a group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II. The popes were among the first royals who opened the own art collections of their palaces to the public. This impressive museum contain 22 separate collections, from Etruscan and Egyptian art to maps and modern religious art. The main attraction of the museum is the renowned Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms.

Le Louvre:

The Louvre Palace located inParis, France, which houses the museum was a fortress by Philip II in the 12th century. In 10 August 1793, the museum opened which was the first anniversary of the monarchy's death. The museum's collections, which diverse from the birth of the magnificent antique civilizations to the first half of the 19th century, are some of the most important on the museums world. The museum also includes pieces by some of the most famous artists in history, such as da Vinci and Rembrandt. The main attraction of the museum is the famous "Mona Lisa" painting by Leonardo da Vinci.


LEONARDO DA VINCI (1504) Image of the famous painting Mona Lisa [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].

Main body of argument/ Key points

These museums have been on the best top 10 in the world mainly because they have main attractions that are known worldwide. For example, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is known for their artifacts from the tombs of kings and royal families, especially those belonging to King Tutankhamun. And in case of the Le Louvre in France as the most famous museum in the world and being number one, you would notice that a lot of people know the museum had Leonardo da Vinci painting Mona Lisa. The EGSOP plays a main role when it comes to introducing a museums or an organization to the public and these museums have a focus on these aspects such as the below examples:


Le Louvre museum is located in Francewhich is a very open with a freedom of speech with its own history and culture. These aspects help the museum in giving them the freedom to own objects and host exhibitions that might be controversial or censored to some countries like the Islamic countries. For example, the British Museum is touring their own international exhibition worldwide which is called "The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece" which features treasures from the rich Greek and Roman collection. Some of the collections on display will cause major problems in the Islamic countries as nude sculptures are on display.


The Smithsonian Institution in Washingtonwas created by Congress in 1846 and now it is administered by a Board of Regents which consists of the Chief Justice of US, the Vice President of US, 3 members of the US, 3 members of the US House of Representatives, and 9 citizens. The Board of Regents must meet minimum 4 times a year.


The British Museum strategy for 2012 which extends to five-year plan by identifying four key objectives that will increase its world-class status which are: to manage and research their collection more effectively, to enhance access to the collection, to invest in their people and finally to increase self-generated income and 2012 was the most successful year in their history.


In the year 1995, The Rijksmuseum was privatized where it became a foundation with its own Supervisory Board and a Board of Directors which is advised by a Marketing Advisory Board. The Supervisory Board is handeled by the Prof. mr. J.G. de Hoop Scheffer (Chair) – Universiteit Leiden, Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Law and Security at Campus The Hague, A. Benali – Writer, Dr. P. Huvenne – Director Koninklijk Museum van SchoneKunstenAntwerpen, Mr. M.L.B. van der Lande – Independent advisor on tax, legal and governance issues, Drs. M.A. Scheltema – Supervisor of a.o. ASR etc. and Mr. M.J. Oudeman – Member of the Executive Committee, responsible for HR and Organizational Development. The Board of Directors is handled by Wim (W.M.J.) Pijbes – General Director, responsible for the Presentation Sector, Taco (T.D.W.) Dibbits – Director of Collections and Erik van Ginkel – Director of Finance and Operations.

The Marketing Advisory Board is handled by Bert Meerstadt (Chair) – Chair of the Executive Board, NederlandseSpoorwegen (Dutch Railways) , TanjaDik – Managing Director, Stage Entertainment/Joop van den EndeTheaterproducties, NataschaJacobovitz de Szeged – EgonZehnder Nederland, DiederikKarsten – Chief Executive Officer, UPC Nederland, Eugene Randag – Owner, Saint Basics and Chris Vogelzang – Executive Board, ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

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(2012) An image of The Rijksmuseum Organization Chart [Online image]. Available from: [3 December 2012].


The Louvre Museum depends on donation and its own resources profited (tickets and other sales) and state subsidies. Its resources represent less than 50% of the museums budget. the generous help of its patrons (corporations, individual donors, foundations) help the museum to financetheir activities. These donation and the income helped the Louvre museum to purchase and own the Acquisition of The Three Graces by Lucas Cranach. The museums was also able to restore an Egyptian sarcophagus over 3,000 years old. The funding money also helped the museum in adding Museum spaces such as The new Department of Islamic Art galleries and the Eighteenth-century decorative art galleries.


There are many issues and problems that can face museums business. One of these issues is the funding for the museums. Most of the museums worldwide depend on the funds from the members, sponsors or events and it is rarely funded by the government. But can the case of no funds affect the future of a museum. The less capital might cause the museum to some of their own collection to be able to cover the loses. Another issue that is considered a major is the political issues and the wars. These unexpected issues can cause the museum to lose some collections like the recent case of one of the museums in Egypt where some collections where stolen during the revolution.The museums must copyright all their collections so that they first owned by the museum, the country and the owner. This might help in returning the collections to their owners in similar cases. Another issue is the damaging of the objects such as the orientalist painting, as these old paintings needs a careful and special care to be able to keep them and don’t get damaged such as setting a certain level of light and temperature.


Museums play part in the education system and the individuals one way or another. In terms of learning, museums provide a very unique interactive experience of getting a closer look. Museums also helps in the Tourism and the Local Economy by increasing the countries income and setting a name in this market for the museum and its country. Museums are also contributes to the research programs in this country and it is considered a dependable source for documentation. Museums of history is also plays a very major role in documenting the history and to keep it for the coming generations.

In terms of the top 10 museums above, each one of them plays a major role in their related field. They are successful and popular because they were able to reach their audience.

Way forward

My recommendation for museums is to start documenting all the objects from A to Z so that it does not give any space for not being accurate. Museum also should create a data base of all collection so that it stays in the records and its accessible for all the public. Museums should also creating a copy of all their artifacts so that they are able to share the copies worldwide while keeping the original in a save place so it won’t be damaged.


I believe that museums play an essential roll all over the world as it either covers past, present or future which is part of our life. Museums also considered a building full of treasures, history, education and culture.

References, Bibliography & Appendices (Harvard system)

AskMen Articles (2012)Top 10: Museums Of The World [WWW], Inc. Available from: [ 1 December 2012].

Title Top 10 Must-See MUSEUMS of the World [WWW] Available from: [ 18 November 2012].

touropia (2010) 14 Best Museums in the World [WWW] Available from: [5 December 2012].

The Rijksmuseum [WWW]. Available from: [ 4 December 2012].

Smithsonian [WWW] The Smithsonian Institution. Available from: [11 December 2012].

(2012) Rijksmuseum to reopen after decade-long renovation. The History Blog. Weblog [Online] 10/September. Available from: . [ 12 December 2012].

(2012) History of the Museum [WWW] Museo Nacional del Prado. Available from: [ 9 December 2012].

JIMMY DUNN (2011) Egypt: Tutankhamun (King Tut) of the 18th Dynasty [WWW] Tour Egypt. Available from: [ 25 November 2012].

(2004) Cairo Yesterday and today [WWW] hermes group. Available from: [ 5 December 2012].

(2012) The Uffizi Gallery in Florence [WWW] The Uffizi Gallery. Available from: [ 5 December 2012].

(2012) [WWW] The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available from: [ 6 December 2012].

(2012) [WWW] Trustees of the British Museum. Available from: [ 6 December 2012].

New York Metropolitan Museum of Art [WWW]. Available from: [ 6 December 2012].

(2007) [WWW] Vatican Museums Management. Available from: [ 5 December 2012].

(2012) Inside the Vatican Museums [WWW] Available from: [ 5 December 2012].

CHATEAU TO MUSEUM (2012) History of the Louvre [WWW] Musée du Louvre. Available from: [ 5 December 2012].

WIKIPEDIA. Vatican Museums. [Online]. Available from: [ 28 November 2012].

WIKIPEDIA. Musée du Louvre. [Online]. Available from: [ 28 November 2012].

WIKIPEDIA. Smithsonian Institution. [Online]. Available from: [ 28 November 2012].

WIKIPAINTINGS. Mona Lisa. [Online]. Available from: [ 28 November 2012].