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A list of some of the oldest and finest museums in Europe that you can still visit.


The world’s oldest museums

The world’s oldest museums


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The Capitoline Museums

Early museums began as private collections of wealthy individuals, families or institutions. They displayed rare or curious natural objects and artefacts in so-called wonder rooms or cabinets of curiosities.

The Capit...

The Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani)

The Vatican Museums are a group of museums located inside the Vatican City. It traces its origins to the sculptural collection begun in 1506 by Pope Julius II.

It displays works from the collection built up...

The Royal Armouries in the Tower of London

The Royal Armouries in the Tower of London is the oldest museum in Britain. It opened to the public in 1660.

Royal Armouries is located at three sites across England:

  • In a purpos...

The Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum in Britain is the oldest university museum in the world.

In 1677, it received the cabinet of curiosities from Elias Ashmole. The museum houses an extensive collection of items with art...

The Amerbach Cabinet

The private collection was bought by the university and city of Basel in 1661 and opened to the public in 1671.

The collection is now part of a rich historical and cultural heritage in the city of Basel. The main focus is on paintings and drawings by artists active in the Upper Rhine region...

 The Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie

 The Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'archéologie in Besançon was established in 1694 when an abbot, Jean-Baptiste Boisot, gave his personal collection to the Benedictines of the city to create a museu...

The Kunstkamera

Founded in 1717, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) in St. Petersburg is one of the richest ethnographical museums in the world.

The British Museum

The British Museum in London was founded in 1753. Sir Hans Sloane's personal collection of curios provided the initial collection.

Today its collections number more than seven million objects from around the ...

The Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence started in the 15th century by Cosimo de’ Medici.

It is one of the most famous museums of paintings and sculpture globally, containing universally acclaimed Primitive and Renai...

The State Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, contains over three million works of art and artefacts of the world culture.

It includes paintings, graphic...

Museo del Prado

The Museo del Prado in Madrid. Founded in 1785 by Charles III of Spain, the significant royal collection represents the foundation of the Museum's collection as we know it today.

Today, we can see g...

The Belvedere Palace of the Habsburg monarchs

The Belvedere Palace of the Habsburg monarchs in Vienna opened in 1781 with a collection of art.

It holds the greatest collection of Austrian art dating from the Middle Ages to today.

The Louvre Museum in Paris

The Louvre Museum opened to the public in 1793.

It contains nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century.

The Brukenthal National Museum in Sibiu, Transylvania

The first collection was established around 1790. The collections were officially opened to the public in 1817, making it the oldest institution of its kind in Romania.

The museum comprises:

  • European Art, Romanian Art and the Library (in the Brukenthal Palace),
  • Contempora...

The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation

The Museum was founded in 1773. It is the oldest in Latvia and the whole of the Baltics. The Museum is situated in Old Riga, in a remarkable architectural monument of the 13th–20th centuries - the ensemble of the Riga Dom.

The rich and diverse collections of the Museum came from an art and ...

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