I love museums. They are my absolute favorite activity everywhere we go. No matter the subject, museums are a great way to immerse yourself in something and really learn what it is all about. Getting lost in these amazing buildings is a way to expand your mind, appreciate beauty, and have a really fun time. I am using this blog to honor my favorites.
 
5. Schindler’s Factory (Krakow)
This museum, located on the site of Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory, is a brilliant memorial and tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, as well as an immersive experience of what daily life was like for German citizens at the time. Starting in the pre-war 1930’s, you walk room to room, reading firsthand accounts of events, seeing startling photographs, and being immersed in recreations of important rooms such as courtrooms, rooms of Jewish ghettos, and other such places. The reason this museum was so special was that it gave you a personal connection to the people of the Holocaust, and helped you walk in the shoes of the people that faced these struggles. Highly recommended.

Schindler’s Factory Museum. (Photo courtesy of the Daily Mail.)

 

4. Capitoline Museum (Rome)

Many museums, such as the Vatican Museum, are so opulent and full of priceless artifacts that it can be overwhelming. The Capitoline Museum in Rome was different, in that the art and artifacts were presented in a way that wasn’t cluttered, but rather displayed in an open environment. Housing many ancient Roman and Greek artifacts, we learned many things about popular legends, the gods and goddesses, and the daily life of the ancient Romans. What really made this place stand out was the amazing view of the Roman forum. Directly overhanging the forum, this museum offers unencumbered views of all the ancient ruins in the best vantage point you can get. Go here for the views!

The view of the forum from the Capitoline Museum.

 

3. Musée D’Orsay (Paris)
This beautiful museum not only houses amazing art, but is a beautiful building with spectacular architecture. Boasting art from all periods of history, this museum is comprehensive in its display of art history. From medieval art, to the hall of impressionists on the top floor, you won’t be bored in this museum. Highlights include a full model of the Paris Opera house, the most extensive collection of impressionist art in the world, and beautiful sculptures; this is a great place to go celebrate the artistic achievements of mankind.

View from the top floor of the Musee D’Orsay.

 

2. The Deutsches Museum (Munich)
The engineer in all of us is dancing for joy in the Deutsches museum. This science museum is great for people of all ages. There was a metallurgy section and a mining section, which was really interesting for me as a Materials Science Engineer, and an early machines and machine shop section which particularly excited my Mechanical Engineering friends. This vast museum holds amazing copies of all kinds of machines, helps you learn about various manufacturing techniques, and does so in a hands-on and interesting way. In the maritime navigation section, there was a tank where you could sail different hulled model boats across to examine the different wake patterns, for example. Block out a whole day for this museum. It took us all morning to see the first floor!

The steam machine room of the Deutsches Museum.

 

1.  The Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam)

This museum was a life changer. As someone who is a bit of a worrier and gets hung up in the details, Van Gogh’s paintings prove that the picture doesn’t have to be exactly right to be beautiful. Each floor of the museum represents a part of his life, from his early dabblings in art to his final days in the mental institution. Not only do you see his life story in his work (he always paints his surroundings) but you learn his life story through his personal letters to his friends and family.

The museum takes a delicate look at mental illness, and shows that Van Gogh was not a violent madman, such as when he cut off his ear, but rather a troubled person, afraid of the rush of the cities, longing for the serene peace of the country and the solitude it brought. Although the entrance fee is a bit hefty, this is for a reason. The museum is expertly crafted to be easy to follow, easy to grasp and moving to look at. I must say I shed quite a few tears in this museum. Definitely the best I have been to.

The Van Gogh Museum, photo courtesy of Luuk Kramer of the Arch Daily