What are the most ancient museums in the world?

Learn about some of the oldest and most interesting museums in the world. From relics of ancient civilizations to dinosaur fossils, these museums have something for everyone.


by Aline Barbosa

Published on 09/14/2022

Learn what are the oldest museums in the world that you can visit and learn from

PARIS - SEP 10: Louvre museum interior
Some museums have been operating for hundreds of years. Source: Adobe Stock.

The most ancient museums date back to centuries ago when they were first established in Europe.

Today, there are thousands of museums around the world, and they are an important part of our cultural heritage.

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Museums provide us with a window into the past and help us to understand the world around us.

They are a fascinating way to explore the history of different cultures and can provide insights into the customs and beliefs of ancient people.

Many museums also offer educational programs and exhibits, which can be a great way to learn about a new culture. It’s no secret that most ancient museums have the world’s most priceless artifacts.

But what’s usually less known is how important these institutions are in terms of preservation and historical research.

Furthermore, many ancient museums house collections that have been amassed over centuries, making them invaluable resources for understanding the past.

In a world where the present is often dominated by the latest gadget or trends, it’s easy to forget just how vital learning from history can be.

So what are the most ancient museums in the world? And can you still visit them? Keep reading the content below to learn more. 

The 7 most ancient museums in the world

mother and child looking ancient amphores in museum
Going to the museum is an excellent family activity. Source: Adobe Stock.

When most people think of a museum, they probably envision vast marble buildings housing priceless works of art.

However, the concept of a museum has a much longer history than that. In fact, some of the most ancient museums in the world are in places like the U.S. and Italy.

Here are seven of the most ancient museums in the world.

Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum (located in Germany)

The Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum is one of the most ancient museums in the world. It was founded in 1754 by Duke Anton Ulrich of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts from around the globe.

The museum underwent a major renovation in 2009, and today it is a popular tourist destination for art lovers and history buffs alike.

Visitors can explore the museum’s many galleries, which showcase a wide range of both historical and contemporary works of art. 

Whether you want to see some of the world’s most famous paintings or learn about the history of art, the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum is sure to have something for you.

Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology of Besançon (located in France)

The Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology of Besançon is one of the most ancient museums in the world. It was founded in 1694 – almost 100 years before the Louvre.

The museum houses a collection of over 200,000 items, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and archaeological artifacts.

The museum is also home to a library and research center. Visitors can tour the galleries, participate in educational programs, or attend special events.

The Museum of Fine Arts and Archaeology of Besançon provides an opportunity to explore the history and culture of the region through its collections and programs.

The Charleston Museum (located in the U.S.)

The Charleston Museum is one of the most ancient museums in the United States. Founded in 1773, it is the first museum in America.

The Museum houses many collections that date back to the early days of the Charleston settlement. These include a Natural History collection, a Fine Arts collection, and an Archaeology collection.

In addition, the Museum also has a Library and Archives that contain books, documents, and other artifacts from Charleston’s past.

The Museum is open to the public and offers tours, educational programs, and events throughout the year.

Visitors can also enjoy the Museum’s beautiful gardens, which are home to a variety of plants and animals.

The Charleston Museum is a wonderful place to learn about the history and culture of the U.S.

The Ashmolean Museum (located in the U.K.)

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, is also one of the most ancient museums in the world. Founded in 1683, it was the first ever purpose-built museum in the world.

Today, it houses over 1 million artifacts, making it one of the most important museums for archaeology and art history.

The museum is most famous for its collection of Egyptian treasures, which include mummies and sarcophagi, as well as an extensive collection of Roman sculptures.

However, the Ashmolean also has important collections of paintings, furniture, and pottery from around the world.

Besides its permanent collections, the Ashmolean also has regular temporary exhibitions that showcase the work of contemporary artists and archaeologists.

With its wide range of collections and exhibitions, the Ashmolean Museum is a must-see for anyone who loves art or history.

The Prado Museum (located in Spain)

Side view of handsome young man in glasses and with backpack standing with gadgets in hands while using information panel in shopping centre
Find the nearest museum to go to. Source: Adobe Stock.

The Prado Museum is one of the most famous and most visited museums in the world. Located in Madrid, Spain, the Prado houses an impressive collection of Spanish and European art, spanning from the 12th century to the early 19th century.

The museum was first established in 1819, making it one of the most ancient museums in existence.

Today, the Prado attracts over 3 million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain.

Whether you’re a fan of Spanish art or simply looking for a cultural experience, a visit to the Prado Museum is sure to be a memorable one.

The Vatican Museums (located in the Vatican)

The Vatican Museums are among the most ancient museums in the world. They were founded in the early 16th century by Pope Julius II, who assembled a collection of sculptures and other artifacts that had once belonged to the Roman Emperor Constantine.

Over the centuries, the museums have expanded to include an extensive collection of art and artifacts from across the globe.

Today, they are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rome, attracting millions of visitors each year.

The museums are home to a number of famous works of art, including Michelangelo’s ‘Sistine Chapel’, and they provide an insight into the rich history and culture of the Catholic Church.

The Capitoline Museums (located in Italy)

The Capitoline Museums are the oldest museums in the world. They were founded in 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV, and they are located on Capitoline Hill in Rome, Italy.

The museums contain a large collection of art and artifacts from the ancient Roman world, as well as from the Renaissance and the modern era.

They are hosted in two beautiful palaces, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo, which are connected by the Portico dei Clementini.

In addition to the artworks on display, the Palazzo dei Conservatori also houses the Capitoline Venus, a life-size statue of the goddess Venus from the 16th century.

What are the best places to travel in 2022?

You can find the most ancient museums all over the globe. If you’re looking for the best places to travel in 2022, chances are your destination has a story to tell.

Check the link below to find out which are the top places you can visit this year and how to make the most of it. 

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What are the best places to travel in 2022?

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About the author

Aline Barbosa

Aline Barbosa is an editor, writer and learning-enthusiast. Passionate about music, books and human behavior. Curious about the unknown. Believer that learning is a life-long process.

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