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Best History Museum (2022)

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Whether you’re interested in American history, or millennia of human history, you can learn a lot about the past with a visit to one of these incredible history museums. Some have broad, encyclopedic collections, while others are specific to a certain moment in history.

  • National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center

    National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center
    Columbus, Georgia

    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

  • Fruitlands Museum

    Fruitlands Museum
    Harvard, MA

    The Fruitlands Museum preserves the story of an 1843 Transcendentalist experiment in subsistence farming and self-reliance inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Although the community lasted only seven months, today, the 210-acre property includes an original farmhouse, the Shaker Museum, the Native American Museum, and an art museum that showcases more than three hundred Hudson River School paintings.
    Photo courtesy of Courtesy of The Trustees

  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

    National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    Located on the banks of the Ohio River near downtown Cincinnati, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center reveals the moving stories of the Underground Railroad, Martin Luther King's march from Selma and the millions of people still enslaved in the world today.
    Photo courtesy of Farshid Assassi/ Assassi Productions

  • The Henry Ford

    The Henry Ford
    Dearborn, Michigan

    The Henry Ford, located in the Detroit metro area, showcases the development of technology in the U.S. and documents the width and breadth of American inventions and innovation. The facility occupies nine acres and includes exhibits on agriculture, the automobile, freedom, timepieces, home appliances, jewelry and presidential limousines. Thematic itineraries, including one title OnWheels, provide a more directed focus for visitors.
    Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

  • USS Constitution Museum

    USS Constitution Museum
    Boston

    The USS Constitution Museum relates the storied 200-year history of the USS Constitution, which was first launched in the late 18th century and is now recognized as the world's oldest commissioned warship. During her years at sea, the Constitution saw conflict with pirates and even experienced heralded victories during the War of 1812. You can tour the ship itself in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
    Photo courtesy of USS Constitution Museum

  • National Museum of the Marine Corps

    National Museum of the Marine Corps
    Triangle, Virginia

    This 135-acre museum site chronicles the history and heritage of the United States Marine Corps. The structure itself is meant to resemble the image of raising the flag and Iwo Jima, while the collection within includes artifacts from 240 years of corps history – uniforms, weapons, medals, flags, aircraft, vehicles and works of art. 
    Photo courtesy of Photo provided by National Museum of the Marine Corps

  • Erie Maritime Museum

    Erie Maritime Museum
    Erie, PA

    Discover how this city on the coast of Lake Erie played a critical role in the War of 1812. A fleet of nine ships under Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry prevailed in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, returning control of the Great Lakes to the United States from the British. The Erie Maritime Museum relates the story of the construction of the squadron at Presque Isle Bay and the community's subsequent lake heritage. The Niagara is a reconstruction of Perry's brig that serves today as a live-aboard sail training ship and centerpiece of the museum.
    Photo courtesy of Tyler Tomasek // Getty Images

  • Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine

    Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine
    Beckley, WV

    This mine, opened in 1889 in the heart of present-day Beckley, was the first historic site dedicated to the coal mining industry. Coal has long been king in the mountains of southern West Virginia, and this remarkable museum transports visitors back a century in time when coal company towns were the lifeblood of the economy. 10Best Contributor Chez Chesak adds, “The tours of the old coal mine (via mine car) are fascinating, as are the retired miners that lead them and bring the mine alive with their own stories and experiences. The camp around the mine, though, really brings the miners’ lives to light as you tour their shanties, church, and school.”
    Photo courtesy of andresr // Getty Images

  • The Mob Museum

    The Mob Museum
    Las Vegas

    The National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement, or the Mob Museum for short, documents the darker side of American history by examining the effect organized crime has had on society. Exhibits cover the Prohibition era, organized crime today, forensic lab techniques and law enforcement methods.
    Photo courtesy of The Mob Museum

  • Museum of Native American History

    Museum of Native American History
    Bentonville, Arkansas

    The Museum of Native American History invites visitors to step back in time and meet the state's first inhabitants. Among the collection of artifacts are pieces dating back some 14,000 years; highlights include the famous Sweetwater Biface and a wooly mammoth skeleton from the Ice Age. 
    Photo courtesy of Lauren Fraser, Museum of Native American History

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

  1. National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center - Columbus, GA
  2. Fruitlands Museum - Harvard, MA
  3. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center - Cincinnati, OH
  4. The Henry Ford - Dearborn, MI
  5. USS Constitution Museum - Boston, MA
  6. National Museum of the Marine Corps - Triangle, VA
  7. Erie Maritime Museum - Erie, PA
  8. Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine - Beckley, WV
  9. The Mob Museum - Las Vegas, NV
  10. Museum of Native American History - Bentonville, AR

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 history museums!

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Jacky Runice

Kyle McCarthy

Kyle McCarthy

Kyle McCarthy
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