Here Are 6 of the Most Underrated Museums in the World

When you’re exploring a new city or visiting one you've always loved, at least a museum or two is often on your to-do list. But when you’re not the only one with that idea (which is almost always the case), the most popular ones can get quite packed; you've seen the hordes snapping pics in front of the Mona Lisa, right?! Sure, these museums are popular for a reason, but you may spend most of your time waiting on long lines just to barely see that famous painting over that tall guy’s head. Don’t fret. We’ve found six seriously underrated, must-see museums in some of the world’s biggest cities that are worth skipping the crowds over.

1. Musee Marmottan Monet, Paris

Photo Credit: B@rberousse at Flickr

Slipped into the outskirts of Paris in the 16th arrondissement, the Marmotton Monet Museum was once the beautiful home of art collector Paul Marmottan. Now, the quaint, two-floor cache holds the largest collection of works by Monet, which were donated by the painter’s son. Other impressionists -- including Renoir, Pissaro, Degas, and Morisot -- have works filling the rooms here, and the often quiet gallery leaves plenty of space for exploring at your own pace.

Admission price: 11 euro, discounts for seniors and students available

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2. Pollock's Toy Museum, London

Photo Credit: Ann Lee via Flickr

A bit off-beat and quirky, this family-run museum and toy shop sits in two historic buildings in London’s Fitzrovia, right outside the Goodge Street Station. Up two winding staircases and throughout six small rooms, there's an eclectic display of teddy bears, vintage dolls, folk toys, puppets, toy theaters, and soldiers, with a strong focus on Victorian toys. Some of the knickknacks might be a bit too odd -- or spooky -- for the young ones, but it's a great spot for older children and adults.

Admission price: 6 euro for adults, 3 euro for children, 5 euro for seniors and students

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3. Bode Museum, Berlin

Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr

Hailing like a castle on top of Spree River, this beautiful, historically-preserved museum stands at the tip of Museum Island in Berlin. Following the ideas of Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia, Wilhelm von Bode first opened the museum in 1904 in order to have a space devoted to the Renaissance. After WWII and several stages of restoration, the museum reopened in 2006, debuting the permanent displays of the Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art, with ancient sculptures dating from the early Middle Ages to the late 18th century, and Münzkabinett, one of the world’s most significant exhibitions of coins and medals chronicling the history of humankind through the forging of metal. These exhibitions call for you to take your time, so plan to make a day of it.

Admission price: 18 euro

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4. Frye Art Museum, Seattle

Photo Credit: John Seb Barber via Flickr

This modest-sized art museum is just around the corner from the Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Public Library; it's perfect for art lovers looking for a smaller space to navigate. Frye holds an an expansive and striking array of predominately European artwork, as well as that of 19th- and 20th-century American painters. There's a range of rotating exhibits, including the "Frye Salon," a floor-to-ceiling display of more than 140 paintings from the museum’s founding collection; the salon recreates the gallery’s original setting in founders’ Charles and Emma Frye’s Seattle-based home.

Admission price: free

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5. The Tenement Museum, New York City

Photo Credit: Reading Tom via Flickr

The Tenement Museum might initially be easy to miss, as from afar it can look just like a regular apartment building. But this historically remarkable place at 97 Orchard Street was preserved to share the stories and lives of the nearly 7,000 working-class immigrants who lived there throughout the years. The museum tells the history of immigration as generations of newcomers came to New York to start anew, with an influx of people settling in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. There’s a chance to see what it’s like to work in a sweatshop, and taste a variety of foods influenced by immigrant culture. You can explore the building and its restored apartments, with comprehensive tours given by costumed interpreters as residents, as well as walk the surrounding neighborhood.

Admission price: varies based on tour

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6. American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore

Photo Credit: Joe Haupt via Flickr

This idiosyncratic museum just celebrated its 20th anniversary and is one of Baltimore’s most treasured hidden gems. There’s no true definition of the type of artwork displayed, except that the work is made by self-taught artists lacking formal training. Here, art is spontaneous, bizarre, spiritual, and individualized, and you’ll never quite know what to expect opening the museum’s doors. There are over 4,000 pieces in the permanent collection, with often rotating galleries, like Wayne Kusy’s “Lusitania” model, made from 193,000 toothpicks. 

Admission price: $15.95 general, $13.95 for seniors, $9.95 for students and children; free for children under 6

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