Something Different Saturday Review: Museum-Go-Round

TripAdvisor released their 2014 for best U.S. museums a few weeks ago. There is nothing I love to do more than visit a good museum. Let’s tackle the list and compare notes. Have you been to any of these? What did you like? Hate? Would you recommend it?

I will say I already have a complaint with the list; it lumps all different kinds of museums together when they could stand on their own as individual categories (art, history, etc.)
The list! In reverse order because it is more dramatic that way.

25. The Henry Ford (Dearborn, Michigan)
I’ve never been to the Henry Ford, but it has been a secret dream of mine to work there someday. Guess I should visit first.

24. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (Dayton, Ohio)
Heard great things about this one, but never seen it for myself. Actually – insert gasp here – I’ve never been to Ohio at all.

23. National World War I Museum (Kansas City, Missouri)
OMG. I love this museum. Anytime anyone mentions Kansas City or military history, I take the opportunity to sing the praises of this World War I Museum. I even have two converts who visited on my recommendation and fell in love too. It was informative, engaging, and great for a wide age range.

22. Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Another I haven’t seen. My parents went however, and found it very moving.

21. Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Never even heard of it. Anyone been?

20. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Always great to see a local place on the list! If you remember from a few months ago, we finally made it to Crystal Bridges for the first time earlier this year and it did not disappoint. Plus, free! Read about my trip here.

19. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, Illinois)
Another one already on my to-visit list.

18. Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, Massachusetts)
Never been and it probably wouldn’t be on my to-do list. What does it have to offer that the other art museums on this list don’t?

17. The Ringling (Sarasota, Florida)
Never heard of this one either. I looked it up – the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Yes, that Ringling family. Yes, it does include a circus museum. And a 56-room palace, and gardens, and a historic theater, and an education center. I really sounds like something I would enjoy, so it will be added to the to-visit list too.

16. Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, Illinois)
Love, love, love this museum. Really. It is excellent for kids and adults. The first time the husband and I went, we didn’t even have a kid with us. It was still just that good. Take your family to this museum.

15. Ground Zero Museum Workshop (New York City)
I haven’t been to NYC post 9/11, so I certainly haven’t seen this. But . . . hmm, I’m really not sure what I think. From what I can read online, this is a for-profit museum set up by a photographer. It is not the official 9/11 Museum (the one that has had all the controversy recently over items being sold in the gift shop).

14. United State National Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington DC)
I can still remember the way I felt walking through this museum. I’ve only been once – fifteen years ago – so you can imagine the impact it had on me. So incredibly moving.

13. Smithsonian Museum of National History (Washington DC)
A classic! Fun, but super busy if you try to go anytime there are tourists in town (read: anytime).

12. National Naval Aviation Museum (Pensacola, Florida)
Never been. I’ve always kind of thought once you’ve seen one historic airplane, you’ve seen them all. Maybe this museum would change my mind? I doubt I’ll ever find out.

11. Frick Collection (New York City)
I didn’t think I had heard of this one, but a quick visit to the website made me realize I did know it. It house European art in a gorgeous historic home.

10. Newseum (Washington DC)
Sadly, I have never been to this one either. It was on my hope-to-do-list for my recent DC trip, but I just never made it. Maybe next time!

9. Arizona-Sorona Desert Museum (Tucson, Arizona)
Another one that is foreign to me. The website says it is a “zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium.” Sounds pretty neat.

8. Chihuly Gardens and Glass (Seattle, Washington)
I have never been to this one. I’m a big Chihuly fan though, so I’m sure I would enjoy myself.

7. USS Midway Museum (San Diego, California)
Nope, never been. Revealing fact about me though – I used to work for a submarine museum and have a soft spot for the Navy.

6. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Washington DC)
Another classic. It wasn’t my favorite to visit, but it still excellent.

5. National Gallery of Art (Washington DC)
Yes! One of my favorite art galleries.

4. The National World War II Museum (New Orleans, Louisiana)
This one is great for kids all the way up to WWII veterans. Some of it could use some updating, but the recent additions are spectacular. It is a full-day’s activity, for sure.

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Hmmm . . . how have I never been to this one? It just seems like someplace I would have visited.

2. The Getty Center (Los Angeles, California)
A great place, but it doesn’t beat out the National Gallery in my mind.

1. Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
Another of my favorite art galleries, up there with the Louvre and Picasso Museum in Paris.

Do you agree with #1? If not, what is your top choice?
I’ve only been to the Art Institute once, but I loved it. I can’t say it would be my #1 though. Picking from this list, my top choices would probably be the National World War I Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the National Gallery of Art, and the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum. I would have a very hard time choosing a favorite from those four.

Is there something you can’t believe isn’t on the list?



  1. What? Nothing in SF??! We have some fantastic museums out here – the Academy of Sciences, which features a living roof, the deYoung, Exploratorium, the Asian Art Museum, the GLBT History Museum, and on and on. And they couldn’t find one worthy of the list? Wow! They must not have sent someone up here.

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