There are more than 33,000 museums in the United States, according to a figure released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. That means there's twice as many museums in the country as there are Starbucks – a staggering figure.
So, we wanted to narrow down the field to the best museums in Canada and the U.S. across seven categories. An editorial panel selected 20 nominees per category, then you voted for the best in each one. The results are in.
Click on each category below to see the full winners list:
Best Children's Museum: Children's Museum of Indianapolis in Indianapolis
This children's museum is the largest of its kind — Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis
A favorite Indy attraction, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest museum of its kind in the world, encompassing 500,000 square feet of fun-filled experiences. Children and families can explore science, consider career paths with Barbie, snap a selfie with a T-rex or explore outer space through the lens of NASA’s Project Mercury.
There’s also a 7.5-acre outdoor sports park to get your game on with basketball, football, hockey, soccer, pedal car racing, golf, baseball and tennis.
Best Free Museum: National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center in Columbus, Georgia
National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center won in two categories: Best Free Museum and Best History Museum — Photo courtesy of Jay Rosenblatt / National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center
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. The museum is temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
Best History Museum: National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center in Columbus, Georgia
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Winner in two categories, the National Infantry Museum & Solider Center is one of the world's best military museums and one of the top-rated attractions in Columbus. The museum is temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
Best New Museum: Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur, Alabama
The Cook Museum of Natural Science recently opened in 2019 — Photo courtesy of Cook Museum of Natural Science
The Cook Museum opened in 2019 as a state-of-the-art natural science museum in downtown Decatur. Inside, visitors will find a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, a recreated Alabama cave, an indoor forest with its own treetop cabin and interactive exhibits focused on topics like the Arctic and desert environments, waterways, insects, space and geology.
Best Pop Culture Museum: Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia
Trace the history of country music at this Bristol museum — Photo courtesy of Birthplace of Country Music Museum
This museum showcases the roles Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia played in the development of country music. The Smithsonian affiliate traces this musical history back to the 1927 Bristol Sessions recording – a recording that helped shape the sound of commercial country music.
The collection includes photographs, printed music, recordings, concert posters, instruments and a variety of recording and playback gear.
Best Science Museum: Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio
From space to dinosaurs, COSI is a journey through the world of science and natural history — Photo courtesy of Robb McCormick Photography
COSI offers a wide array of permanent exhibits and hosts a few traveling ones, too. Check out the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery and Ohio’s largest Planetarium, or maybe take a tour of the ancient stories of the sea hosted by Poseidon himself. Lift a 2,437-pound car with the help of a lever in the outdoor Big Science park.
The museum plans to re-open on June 3, 2021.
Best Art Museum: Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia
The Best Art Museum is home to the world's largest permanent exhibition space for Western art — Photo courtesy of Booth Western Art Museum
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 such as Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Andy Warhol.
Congratulations to all these winning nominees! Remember to visit 10Best.com daily to vote in our Readers' Choice contests.