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National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center named Best Free Museum

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Learn about the history of the U.S. soldier at this winning museum

Some of the nation’s most captivating, enriching and enlightening museums have something in common – admission is free.

  • National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center

    National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center
    Columbus, Ga.

    Free immersive exhibits at the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center in Columbus take visitors through 240 years of U.S. history through the lens of what it means to be a U.S. soldier. It's one of the world's top military museums and one of the top rated attractions in Columbus.
    Photo courtesy of Jay Rosenblatt / National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center

  • National Museum of Mexican Art

    National Museum of Mexican Art
    Chicago

    The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood is home to more than 10,000 objects, and its permanent collection is one of the largest of Mexican art in the country. The accredited museum is dedicated to preserving and facilitating knowledge about Latino life and history. Exhibits focus on Mexican culture as it's representated in the US and in Mexico, and the permanent collection includes folk art, ephemera, sculpture, textiles and drawings.
    Photo courtesy of Graham Chapman / Choose Chicago

  • Baltimore Museum of Art

    Baltimore Museum of Art
    Baltimore

    The Baltimore Museum of Art is home to the Cone Collection, the largest Matisse collection in the world. In addition to the works within the walls that span centuries of prints and paintings, the grounds offer a sculpture garden with fountains and 34 sculptures. On Sundays the museum hosts hands-on workshops and tours for families. 
    Photo courtesy of Mitro Hood / Baltimore Museum of Art

  • The Walters Art Museum

    The Walters Art Museum
    Baltimore

    Open to the public since 1934, the Walters Art Museum houses works from the third millennium BC to the present. Within the walls of this world class art museum, visitors can view works in many mediums, including ceramics and sculpture, in addition to unique pieces such as medieval armor and jeweled Faberge eggs. The Byzantine, Ethiopian and Egyptian sections are particularly striking.
    Photo courtesy of The Walters Art Museum

  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
    Bentonville, Ark.

    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

  • Saint Louis Art Museum

    Saint Louis Art Museum
    St. Louis

    Housed in the "Fine Arts Palace" of the famous 1904 World's Fair, the Saint Louis Art Museum regales visitors with an outstanding collection of Impressionist paintings, Asian works, Renaissance pieces and American art. Visitors enjoying this free collection can spot works by Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso and Degas.
    Photo courtesy of Explore St. Louis / Dan Donovan

  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

    The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
    Kansas City

    Established in 1933, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is among America's premier art institutions, boasting a variety of prestigious works dating from antiquity to the present. The Atkins is renowned for its magnificent collection of rare European, American and Asian art, and the 17-acre Sculpture Park features the largest stateside collection of bronzes by British sculptor Henry Moore. 
    Photo courtesy of Don Ipock / Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

  • Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology

    Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology
    New York

    While smallish, the museum at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology packs a big punch. The self-proclaimed "most fashionable museum in New York" comprises three galleries displaying a rotating selection of garments from the 50,000-piece permanent collection, as well as accessories dating back to the eighteenth century. Exhibits change every six months, making it a great free option for return visitors.
    Photo courtesy of Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology

  • Cincinnati Art Museum

    Cincinnati Art Museum
    Cincinnati

    This art museum in Cincinnati’s Eden Park displays works from its collection of 67,000 works spanning 6,000 years of art history. Admission is always free to the two floors of gallery space. A new outdoor art installation leading up to the museum entrance, called Art Climb, is slated to debut this spring.
    Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum

  • Smithsonian Institution

    Smithsonian Institution
    Washington, D.C.

    The world’s largest museum complex comprises 17 museums in the greater Washington, DC area, all of them completely free to the public. Highlights include the Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum, Natural History Museum and the Portrait Gallery.
    Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institution

  • National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center
  • National Museum of Mexican Art
  • Baltimore Museum of Art
  • The Walters Art Museum
  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  • Saint Louis Art Museum
  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Cincinnati Art Museum
  • Smithsonian Institution

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

  1. National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center - Columbus, Ga.
  2. National Museum of Mexican Art - Chicago
  3. Baltimore Museum of Art - Baltimore
  4. The Walters Art Museum - Baltimore
  5. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art - Bentonville, Ark.
  6. Saint Louis Art Museum - St. Louis
  7. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art - Kansas City
  8. Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology - New York
  9. Cincinnati Art Museum - Cincinnati
  10. Smithsonian Institution - Washington, D.C.

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 free museums!

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AlertThe Experts

Brett Barest

Brett Barest

Brett Barest

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Ilene Jacobs

Ilene Jacobs

Ilene Jacobs

Karon Warren

Karon Warren

Karon Warren

Corinne Whiting

Corinne Whiting

Corinne Whiting

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

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