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If You Haven't Visited These 11 Museums, You Need a Culture Trip in 2018

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 17 May 2018
With over 55,000 art museums around the world, how do you tackle the dilemma of deciding which art museum is worth visiting over another? Don’t worry, Culture Trip have done the leg work and narrowed it down to 11 phenomenal spaces. From contemporary collections in former South African industrial buildings to antiquities in rural Japan, these are the museums you need to visit in 2018.

Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK

In celebration of the Royal Academy of Arts’s 250th anniversary, the art institution will unveil its exciting expansion into Burlington Gardens, once the Museum of Mankind, in May 2018. Led by architect David Chipperfield, the expansion links the current Burlington House with its Mayfair sister building giving expanded studio space to the Royal Academy Schools as well as dedicated space for works from the collection. Tacita Dean will open in the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries, while Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo (around 1504-05) and Giampietrino’s The Last Supper (around 1520), will go on show in the new Collections Gallery.

Royal Academy of Arts Burlington Gardens, 6 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S 3ET, UK. Free entry.

RA Façade of the Royal Academys Burlington Gardens in 2018
Facade of the Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens in 2018 | © Hayes Davidson
Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens Collection Gallery in 2018
Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens Collection Gallery in 2018 | © Hayes Davidson

The Broad, Los Angeles, USA

As long-time art philanthropists, donating to a variety of US arts organisations, including LACMA and MoCA, Eli and Edythe Broad decided in 2010 to build their own art museum. Having amassed an impressive 2,000-strong collection of postwar and contemporary art over the years, the couple opened their mega museum, The Broad, five years later in downtown LA. Open six days a week and with no entrance fee, not only do you get to enjoy art by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman and Damien Hirst, but you can also be wowed by the Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed building that cost an eye-watering $140 million.

The Broad, 221 S. Grand Avenue, Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA. Free entry.

The Broad
The Broad | Photo: © Iwan Baan
Installation of Cindy Sherman Imitation of Life exhibition photo Ben Gibbs
Installation of Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life exhibition | Photo: Ben Gibbs

Miho Museum, Shiga, Japan

Hidden within the forested mountains of Shigaraki in Koka, the Miho Museum is named after its founder and one of the richest women in Japan, Mihoko Koyama (1910-2003). Designed by the acclaimed Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei (famed for the Louvre’s glass Pyramid), the Miho Museum was inspired by the ancient Chinese work The Peach Blossom Spring written by Tao Yuanming in 421AD. Discovered via a cherry tree-lined walkway, the museum is beautifully integrated within its natural surroundings as many of the galleries are situated underground. Mixing Koyama’s private collection of Japanese art with curio from ancient Asia, Egypt and Rome, the Miho Museum makes for ideal day trip from Kyoto.

Miho Museum, 300 Momodani, Tashiro Shigaraki Koka; Shiga 529-1814, Japan.

Miho Museum ariel
© Miho Museum
Miho Gallery
© Miho Museum

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

As the oldest and most visited museum in Australia, The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is where you want to go in Melbourne to see a huge breadth of art for free. Within the two buildings, NGV International and NGV Australia, you can encounter over 70,000 works of art from antiquities and indigenous pieces to Australian photography and international multimedia. 2018 is an exciting time to visit as it marks the inaugural NGV Triennial, which includes a monumental installation by Australian artist Ron Mueck of 100 giant skulls and an interactive installation by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia. Free entry.

Courtesy NGV Australia. Photo: Brooke Holm
Visitors enjoy the Yayoi Kusama Flower Obsession 2017 installation on display in the NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017 | Photo courtesy of the NGV

Museo Soumaya, Mexico City, Mexico

Through its permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Museo Soumaya has been exhibiting the artistic heritage of Mexico since it opened its doors in 1994. In 2011 it opened a second venue at Plaza Carso in the Nuevo Polanco district. The metallic asymmetric building designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero is clad in over 16,000 hexagonal aluminium plates and beautifully recalls the sculptural forms of Auguste Rodin’s work, many of which you can see in the upper gallery as the Museo Soumaya owns the largest collection of the sculptor outside of France.

Museo Soumaya, Plaza Carso, Boulervard Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico and Plaza Loreto, Altamirano #46 plaza loreto, Tizapan San Ángel, San Ángel, 01090 Alvaro Obregón, CDMX, Mexico. Free entry.

Museo Soumaya in Polanco
Museo Soumaya in Polanco | Courtesy pixabay
Museo Soumaya

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France

Art and fashion have alway been good bedfellows, so next time you’re in Paris make a visit to the stunning Fondation Louis Vuitton on the edge of the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the impressive public park, Bois de Boulogne. Designed by American architect Frank Gehry, the extraordinary art space with its fluid lines echoes the transparent lightness of 19th-century glass architecture using 21st century technology. Since opening in 2014 the private cultural initiative has been exhibiting and promoting 20th century and contemporary art under four categories: contemplative, pop, expressionist, music & sound. The must-see work though is Olafur Eliasson’s commission, Inside the Horizon (2013) that brilliantly responds to the innovative building.

Fondation Louis Vuitton, 8, Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, 75116, Paris, France. Entrance fee.

LV Foundation
Courtesy Fondation Louis Vuitton
Olafur Eliasson LV Fondation ©
Olafur Eliasson, Inside the Horizon, 2013 | Courtesy Fondation Louis Vuitton. Photo: © Iwan Baan 

State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia

The grandeur and opulence of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is enough of a reason to get booking your ticket to Russia. The fact it’s the second largest museum in the world and houses an impressive collection of over 1 million items is just an added bonus. Catherine the Great started her art collection in 1764 and commissioned her court architect, Yury Felton, to build an extension on the Winter Palace to house the Dutch and Flemish paintings a couple of years later. Across the six historic buildings you’ll see antiquities, decorative arts and works from numerous art periods including Dutch Golden Age, Italian Renaissance, French Neoclassical and German Romantic. You’re only dilemma will be where to start first.

The State Hermitage Museum, Palace Square, 2, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 190000. Entrance fee.

The State Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage Museum | © quinntheislander / Pixabay
State Hermitage Flickr berlinrider
Hermitage Museum | © Chris/Flickr

Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

When you’re in Madrid, there’s just one art museum you want to go to. While we do love the Prado, head to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía to see not only Picasso’s Guernica (1937) but also the late 19th century works that reflect the rise of modernity and the important post-war art held in the remarkable collection. Inaugurated as Spain’s national contemporary art museum in 1992 in the former General Hospital of Madrid, the Reina Sofía expanded in 2005 with the Jean Nouvel building, providing the museum with both space for temporary exhibitions and an injection of innovative vision.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Calle Santa Isabel 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain. Entrance fee.

Museuo Nacional Centro de Art Reina Sofía
Museuo Nacional Centro de Art Reina Sofía | © Joaquim Cortés/Román Lores
Reina Sofia Interior
Courtesy Museuo Nacional Centro de Art Reina Sofía. Photo | © Joaquim Cortés/Román Lores

Maxxi Arte, Rome, Italy

Set within the multidisciplinary MAXXI complex designed by Zaha Hadid, MAXXI Arte celebrates contemporary creativity through its permanent collection of Italian and international 20th and 21st century art, as well as nurturing the practices of emerging artists. Next time you’re in Rome, head to the Flaminio neighbourhood and get lost in the wealth of art on show including the Italian conceptual artist Alighiero Boetti’s epic tapestry, Mappa (1971).

MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Via Guido Reni, 4/A, 00196 Rome, Italy. Entrance fee.

Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: Francesco Radino
Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: Francesco Radino

Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa

Not only does the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA), which opened in 2017, have an exceptional collection of contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora, its home is in one of the tallest buildings on the Cape Town skyline. Heatherwick Studio were charged with transforming the Grain Silo Complex and its forty-two 33-metre high concrete tubes into the public not-for-profit contemporary art museum. The results are spectacular, making it the go-to cultural complex when you’re next in South Africa.

Zeitz MOCAA, V&A Waterfront, Silo District, S Arm Rd, Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa. Entrance fee.

Zeitz MOCAA in Silo Square | Courtesy Zeitz MOCAA. Photo: Iwan Baan
Zeitz_MOCCA_All things being equal_Cyrus Kabiru
Exhibition view of All things being equal | Courtesy Zeitz MOCCA. Photo: Cyrus Kabiru

Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany

The Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind calls his zinc-panelled Jewish Museum Between the Lines as it reflects the tensions of German-Jewish history. Libeskind’s extension to the classical former Berlin Museum creates a dynamic space where you can travel through 14 historical periods from the Middle Ages to the present day, learning about Jewish history and culture.

Jewish Museum Berlin, Lindenstraße 9-14, D-10969 Berlin, Germany. Entrance fee.

Jewish Museum fassade
Exterior view of the Jewish Museum Berlin, Libeskind Building | Courtesy Jewish Museum Berlin. Photo: Jens Ziehe
Jewish Museum kadishman
Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves) installation by Menashe Kadishman. Gift of Dieter und Si Rosenkranz | Courtesy Jewish Museum Berlin. Photo: Jens Ziehe

Want to see more art around the world? This is the one artwork you need to see this month.