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Best Art Museum (2021)

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North America is home to some of the world’s most impressive art museums showcasing some of the most comprehensive collections and most famous works of art. Whether you’re interested in the masters or the best of contemporary American art, you’ll find it at one of these museums from coast to coast. 

  • Booth Western Art Museum

    Booth Western Art Museum
    Cartersville, Georgia

    The Booth Western Art Museum maintains the world’s largest permanent exhibition space for Western art – the building itself was designed to resemble a pueblo. The collection of paintings, sculpture, artifacts and photography focus on themes of the Civil War and American West, with works by American legends like Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Andy Warhol.
    Photo courtesy of Booth Western Art Museum

  • Heard Museum

    Heard Museum
    Phoenix

    The Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art houses both artifacts and contemporary art of various Native American groups, in particular those with roots in the Southwest. A collection with tens of thousands of items as well as numerous events and festivals throughout the year keep visitors coming back for more.
    Photo courtesy of Heard Museum / Criag Smith

  • IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

    IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
    Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Santa Fe’s IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts specializes in progressive works by contemporary Native artists with a collection of some 9,000 pieces created from 1962 to the present. The museum is housed within the restored 1922 Pueblo Revival-style former Federal Building.
    Photo courtesy of IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

  • National Museum of African Art

    National Museum of African Art
    Washington, DC

    This Smithsonian Institute museum celebrates “the beauty, power and diversity of African arts and cultures worldwide.” The collection includes 11,861 traditional and contemporary objects, as well as a photographic archive with an additional 450,000 pieces. It was among the first museums in the US to focus on modern and contemporary African art.
    Photo courtesy of Ron Blunt

  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
    Bentonville, Arkansas

    The free Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art celebrates the American spirit through its collection of five centuries worth of American art. Pieces span history from the Colonial period to the modern day, and include masterworks by Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe.
    Photo courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

  • Detroit Institute of Arts

    Detroit Institute of Arts
    Detroit

    Housed within a Beaux-Arts building, the Detroit Institute of Arts maintains a collection of some 65,000 works – among the largest and most comprehensive in the United States. Visitors can explore human creativity from across the globe as they explore more than 100 galleries, including the Center for African American Art, one of the first collections devoted to African American art at a major museum.
    Photo courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts

  • Cleveland Museum of Art

    Cleveland Museum of Art
    Cleveland, Ohio

    At the center of University Circle, the Cleveland Museum of Art encompasses some 70 galleries with art spanning from Mediterranean antiquity to the modern day. There's a little bit of everything here, including works by Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Michelangelo. Even non-art lovers will have something to look at – Egyptian mummies, African masks and a collection of medieval weaponry.
    Photo courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Art

  • Kimbell Art Museum

    Kimbell Art Museum
    Fort Worth

    Housed in a 1972 masterpiece by famed architect Louis Kahn, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth showcases a small collection – fewer than 350 pieces – of exceptional quality representing the period from antiquity to the 20th century. Highlights include works by Michelangelo, El Greco, Cézanne and Matisse, and many consider the building itself to be a work of art.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Fort Worth

  • The Art Institute of Chicago

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    Chicago

    A highlight of any trip to the Windy City, the Art Institute of Chicago maintains one of the most extensive art collections in the world. Entertaining exhibits and galleries include the Throne Miniature Room and the Elizabeth Morse Touch Gallery, where visitors are encouraged to interact with the art pieces.
    Photo courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    New York

    New York's famed Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met for short, presents 5,000 years of art from all corners of the globe. The half-a-million-piece collection is displayed within the main museum on 5th Avenue, as well as in the spectacular Met Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park.
    Photo courtesy of The Met

The top 10 winners in the category Best Art Museum are as follows:

  1. Booth Western Art Museum - Cartersville, Georgia
  2. Heard Museum - Phoenix
  3. IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts - Santa Fe, New Mexico
  4. National Museum of African Art - Washington, DC
  5. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art - Bentonville, Arkansas
  6. Detroit Institute of Arts - Detroit
  7. Cleveland Museum of Art - Cleveland, Ohio
  8. Kimbell Art Museum - Fort Worth
  9. The Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago
  10. Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning museums!

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