London is a city rich in museums. There's museums full of toys, furniture, wax people, antique furniture, in fact, something for practically every taste. It's hard to see them all, even if you're here for a very long time, so picking which museums to see can sometimes be quite difficult. Still for most visitors, The British Museum always ranks as one of London's most popular.
The British Museum had it's origins back in 1753 when the government was given various collections by a famous physician, Sir Hans Soane. The museum's collections have grown through the years and the present building was erected in the early 1830s. Until last year, the British Museum shared it's location with The British Library, which among other important tasks, houses a copy of every book published in Britain since 1911 (required by law!), and the buildings of the former Library are in the process of being converted into a new visitor's centre for the Museum. The Museum is one of the few quality tourist sites in London that is also still free to the public. This may change in the very near future though, and any donations are gratefully accepted as you enter.
The Louvre (France)
The Louvre is situated between the rue de Rivoli and the Seine. It is the most important public building in Paris and one of the largest and most magnificent palaces in the world,the construction of which extended over three centuries. However, its great architectural and historical interest is sometimes overshadowed by the popularity of the art-collection which it contains. It became a national art gallery and museum since 1793.
Probably one of the most important painting that it contains is the Mona Lisa. Over four century old, it still fascinates hundreds of visitors. As Michelet wrote: "This canvas attracts me, calls me, invades me, absorbs me. I go to it in spite of myself, like a bird to a snake".
The National Gallery of art (USA)
The National Gallery of Art was created in 1937 for the people of the United States of America by a joint resolution of Congress, accepting the gift of financier and art collector Andrew W. Mellon. During the 1920s, Mr. Mellon began collecting with the intention of forming a gallery of art for the nation in Washington. In 1937, the year of his death, he promised his collection to the United States. Funds for the construction of the West Building were provided by The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust. On March 17, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt accepted the completed building and the collections on behalf of the people of the United States of America.
The paintings and works of sculpture given by Andrew Mellon have formed a nucleus of high quality around which the collections have grown. Mr. Mellon's hope that the newly created National Gallery would attract gifts from other collectors was soon realized in the form of major donations of art from Samuel H. Kress, Rush H. Kress, Joseph Widener, Chester Dale, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, Lessing J. Rosenwald, and Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch as well as individual gifts from hundreds of other donors.
The Gallery's East Building, located on land set aside in the original Congressional resolution, was opened in 1978. It accommodates the Gallery's growing collections and expanded exhibition schedule and houses an advanced research center, administrative offices, a great library, and a burgeoning collection of drawings and prints. The building was accepted for the nation on June 1, 1978, by President Jimmy Carter. Funds for construction were given by Paul Mellon and the late Ailsa Mellon Bruce, the son and daughter of the founder, and by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The Collectors Committee, an advisory group of private citizens, has made it possible to acquire paintings and sculpture of the twentieth century. Key works of art have also come to the Gallery through the Patrons' Permanent Fund. In addition, members of the Circle of the National Gallery of Art have provided funds for many special programs and projects.
The Vasa Museum (Sweden)
The Vasa Museum is Scandinavia's most visited museum, located in Stockholm, capital of Sweden.
The Museum was inaugurated in 1990. In the large shiphall stands the warship Vasa - the only remaining, intact 17th century ship in the world. The lower rig has been rebuilt, complete with masts, stays and shrouds. Just like the Vasa would have looked like when set for winter in harbour. The wreck, salvaged in 1961, is now once again a complete ship.
Surrounding the ship are several permanent exhibitions, cinemas, a shop and a restaurant.