Museums are places where time seems to be carefully preserved for the generations to realise how civilisation grew. They are not only educational hubs but also means for cultural exchanges and enrichment. 18th of May each year is celebrated world over as the International Museum Day and is the brainchild of the International Council of Museum. They have been celebrated for 40 years now as a platform to raise awareness about the importance of museums in our society. The celebrations can last a day or an entire week depending on the activities planned by the museums participating in the festivities. Last year more than 37,000 museums in 158 countries were involved in the International Museum Day observation. The theme for the 2020 commemoration is Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion. With COVID 19 pandemic plaguing the world, the organisers are going digital this year. International Museum Day 2020 Date & Theme: Know History and Significance of the Day Promoting The Institution of Cultural Exchange.

On International Museum Day, we take a look at ten must-visit museums around the world, of course, once days return to normal after coronavirus pandemic. These museums are temporarily closed for visitors in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Egyptian Museum – Cairo

The Egyptian Museum (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

We have all been fascinated by the Egyptian civilisation growing up; hence no better place to learn more about it then the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. There are Mummy rooms amongst thousands of other artefacts that make it a must-visit museum.

American Museum of Natural History – New York City

American Museum of Natural History (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

Established in 1869 in Manhattan, the American Museum of Natural History contains more than 32 million specimens from different branches of science like zoology, geology, astronomy, biology, anthropology to name a few.

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa – Cape Town

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

Zeitz MOCAA in South Africa is an important centre showcasing African art showcasing the rich culture of the continent. It regularly hosts international events and exhibitions promoting exchanges of ideas in the world of art.

Vatican Museums – Rome

Vatican Museums (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

The museum has on its display various sculpture, paintings and artworks collected by the popes of the Roman Catholic church. Many Greek and Roman sculptures make it a huge tourist attraction along with the Sistine chapel section, which is a crowd puller.

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

The largest art museum in the United States of America has a huge cache of European paintings in its cabinets. The place is also famous for its collection of accessories, clothes and weapons of various civilisation from around the world.

The National Palace of Museum – Taipei

The National Palace of Museum – Taipei (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

The museum displays the 8000-year-old Chinese history perfectly with thousands of calligraphic work by Tang Yin. It also has close to 7 lakh imperial artefacts.

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Kunsthistorisches Museum (Photo Credits: Pixabay)

The museum started in 1891 on the orders of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary kingdom. Majority of the collections are from the House of Hapsburgs with Madonna del Prato by Rapahel being its most significant artefact.

State Hermitage Museum – St Petersburg

State Hermitage Museum – St Petersburg (Photo Credits: Pixabay)

This art museum is home to a number of masterpieces by Dutch painter Rembrandt as well as Japanese porcelain collection. The five buildings – Winter Palace, Large Hermitage, Small Hermitage, New Hermitage and The Theatre of Catherine the Great make up this world-famous historical site.

Prado – Madrid

Museo del Prado Madrid (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

Spanish artists have a unique presence in European history; hence Pardo in Madrid remains a top tourist destination. Home to enthralling artwork from greats like Goya, El Greco, and Velazquez – the museum has millions of art forms which are a visual treat for the visitors.

The Louvre – Paris

The Louvre – Paris (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

Considered the greatest museum in the world with the crowd in huge numbers thronging its gates, the Louvre in Paris is home to innumerable treasures of human civilisation from across the globe. Monalisa by Leonardo da Vinci remains its most significant possession, though.

British Museum – London

British Museum – London (Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons)

The Britishers ruled the world in their prime and naturally brought artefacts from its colonies home. The British Museum in London has on its display several antiquities from Egypt, Asia, Africa and medieval Europe.

As we grow in life, our rich heritage must not be forgotten, and this is where museums are doing a fantastic and often thankless job of preserving our past. On National Museum Day, we must take a moment and appreciate their contribution to our society.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 18, 2020 11:51 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website