No matter whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, it’s always cool to learn something new while you’re away. Spending a few hours at a museum is a great way to do this plus it can be fun for the whole family. Of course, any museum has learning possibilities but we’ve picked the places for you that really go above and beyond, offering interactive experiences and making learning fun for everyone. Check out our list of five museums that will make you smarter, below.
THE STATE HERMITAGE MUSEUM
The collection of the State Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, includes over 3 million works of art and world culture artefacts. It contains paintings, graphic works, sculptures, works of applied art, archaeological artefacts and numismatic objects. Set across a total area of 233,345 meters, the main building of the museum is called the Winter Palace, built in 1754. The Hermitage offers themed tours, lectures, quests (journey games) and specialized programmes for school and pre-school study groups, and for parents and children.
For adults, there are also themed tours, which offer the opportunity to gain deeper knowledge of world art history, and a series of tours in the form of talks uniquely designed by the Hermitage lecturers, who are expert in different fields of history of civilization and art studies. If you time your trip right you may even be able to attend an evening concert.
SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
If you live in or near San Francisco or plan to take a trip there, the Museum of Modern Art is a must visit destination. This museum has a ton of educational experiences, particularly for younger visitors. However, even adults will likely learn something new by walking through the exhibits.
As far as interactive learning, you and your children can enjoy counting the 21 native plant species on floor 3, try the Alexander Calder: Motion Lab on the same floor, and grab lunch at Café 5, where you can sit in the sculpture garden. There are also many fun items in the museum store as you leave.
THE NATIONAL GALLERY
Located in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery was founded in 1824 and houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. Masterpieces from the likes of Cézanne, Seurat and Monet, among many others, grace the walls and free guided tours are the best way to learn more. There are also lunchtime talks and even shorter, 10-minute talks if you’re pressed for time. Of course, if you really want the full experience, you can organize a tailor-made tour for your group or even a private lecture.
MUSEO DEL PRADO
The Prado Museum in Madrid is the main Spanish national art museum, and is widely considered to have one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century. Highlights include numerous works by Francisco Goya, the single most extensively represented artist, as well as works by Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Diego Velázquez. The Prado also houses one of the most important Art libraries in Spain, which contains approximately 75,000 monographs and 1,500 periodicals as well as audio-visual material and specialized digital resources. The Library’s collection is accessible through its catalogue so you may want to put some time aside in your schedule.
SIMEONE FOUNDATION AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
This museum is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and offers a unique experience. Simeone Foundation provides a look at the history and evolution of sports cars. The museum has over sixty cars that are historically important, including Jaguars, Porsches, Corvettes, Ferraris, Mercedes, Fords, and more. But, that’s not all you’ll find at Simeone. They also frequently offer special exhibits, demo days, special events, and other fun events.
If you are interested in sports cars, this is the place to catch up on some history. Stop in to learn a bit more about how history has changed the automobile or bring the whole family for an event, such as Cool Cars for Kids.