Though there are countless museums rich in artwork, history and culture worth visiting in the U.S., there are also other museums throughout the world that are worth a visit too. We mentioned a few of these international museums last month, but there are even more that we feel deserve a look — if you have a chance. Even if you’re not planning a trip abroad, learning about these museums is still well worthwhile.

  • Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid — Located in Spain’s capital city, the Museo Nacional del Prado is constructed with numerous wings that hold its 2,300 paintings along with countless sculptures, prints, drawings and other works of art. Having recently undergone an extension and refurbishment that was completed in 2012, the Prado now has proper facilities to handle conservation of art and more adequate space to display their permanent collection. The Prado was initially designed to house the comprehensive Natural History Cabinet as ordered by King Charles III, but during the reign of King Ferdinand VII, he and his wife, Queen María Isabel de Braganza, decided to limit the scope and have the building be the home of the new Royal Museum of Paintings and Sculptures. Finally given the name of Museo Nacional del Prado, the museum opened its doors to the public for the first time in November 1819.


Still operating as an art museum today, the more than 2,000 works the Prado houses includes artwork from all over the world and from countless well-known artists. One of its most notable pieces is the tremendously large (125.2 inches by 108.7 inches) and still widely analyzed “Las Meninas” by Diego Velázquez. Seeing “Las Meninas” in person isn’t the only reason to visit the Prado, however. This museum is also home to works by Francisco Goya and Peter Paul Rubens, as well as other artists. The Museo Nacional del Prado is open year round, with the exceptions of January 1, May 1 and December 25. For those under 18 and students (18-25), admission to the museum is free.

  • Vatican Museums, Vatican City — A group of museums rather than just one museum, the Vatican Museums are a place where visitors can see sculptures, paintings and artwork collected by the Roman Catholic Church, including masterpieces from the Renaissance era. These museums can be dated all the way back to 1500s when Pope Julius II purchased a group of sculptures for the public to see. This was the first stepping-stone for the museums, as now the Vatican Museums have 54 galleries of art and, in fact, the Sistine Chapel is included as the last gallery of the museums.


With a total of 5.5 million visitors in 2013, it seems this 500-year-old museum isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Along with the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums are home to the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Maps and the Missionary-Ethnological Museum. At these museums, one can see da Vinci’s “St. Jerome in the Wilderness,” Caravaggio’s “The Entombment of Christ” and the sculpture “Sleeping Ariadne.” This group of museums is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. On the last Sunday of every month, the Vatican Museums offer free admission from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  Every other Sunday of the month, they are closed.

While the United States has countless museums that historical artwork and paintings call home, the U.S. is a relatively young country. To see artwork that has defined history, traveling overseas and visiting such museums is the best opportunity to do so. Even if there is no trip abroad in your immediate future, perusing this artwork online and learning more about the museums they populate is always exciting to the history buff (or art enthusiast) in all of us.

Stay tuned for next month in our last post about must-visit international museums!

Author: lansend