The Best Art Museums in the United States

By 9.9k votes 1.2k voters 107k views 150 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Museums focusing on one artist (Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keefe, Salvador Dali) have been excluded.

A list of the best museums in the United States that focus predominantly on art (paintings, sculpture, glass/porcelain/ceramics, and other visual media) voted on by the Ranker community. 

 When voting, consider the comprehensiveness of a collection if it's an encyclopedic museum such as the Art Institute in Chicago or the comprehensiveness of the period it represents such as the Museum of Modern Art.  If you feel you can judge the quality of a museum's collection, the museum's effectiveness in helping visitors understand what they're seeing, or other aspects that make that museum worthwhile, please do!
For the sake of maintaining the legitimacy of this list, please do not campaign vote. 


Information on holdings and size of collections (when available) is from Wikipedia, ArtCom, or the museum websites.

If you have a suggestion for a museum not listed here that deserves national recognition, please leave a comment requesting inclusion.  Thank you!

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Collection Photo:  via wikimedia
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  1. 1
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    New York, NY - The Met is the largest art museum in the United States with over two million items in its collection. Famous for its Egyptian holdings and antiquities from other cultures, as well as complete ancient interiors built as permanent installations. 

    Possesses some of the most famous works by Vermeer, Velasquez, Jacques Louis David, Rembrandt, and many others. Also an important collection of Renaissance art, Asian art and porcelains, and a world-renowned collection of musical instruments, costumes and couture from designers such as Chanel, Saint Laurent, and Balenciaga.
  2. 2
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    A comprehensive museum holding more than 450,000 works of art. Famous for impressionist, post-impressionist art and Ancient Egyptian artifacts. Also famous for one of the largest collections of Japanese art and pottery in the world.
  3. 3
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    A comprehensive museum with over 227,000 pieces. Includes famous collections of Flemish and Italian Renaissance art, Chinese porcelains, Persian and Turkish rugs, and one of the world's best exhibits of sculptures by Rodin. Also has important impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern art and a very large comprehensive collection of American art.
  4. 4
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    This is the second largest art museum in the U.S. (in square footage) after the Metropolitan in New York and has over 300,000 pieces (but also see the entry for the Brooklyn Museum). A comprehensive museum best known for impressionist, post-impressionist and American art. Also has a renowned collection of miniatures and one of the largest collections of Claude Monet paintings.  Also well-known for installations of African-American art, antique Asian art, and 20th Century furniture. 
  5. 5
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    Washington, DC - one of the largest art museums in the U.S. Possesses a major collection of renaissance art, including the only da Vinci piece in the Americas, Spanish art, Dutch masters, impressionists and in the East Wing, vast holdings in modern art.  The museum's collection consists of more than 115,000 prints, paintings, drawings, sculptures, and decorative objects.   

    The National Gallery was the largest recipient of European Masters work from the Kress Collection.  
  6. 6
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    A comprehensive museum containing about 45,000 works of art. Its collection is internationally known for Asian and Egyptian Art. Holdings include pieces by Botticelli, Caravaggio, El Greco, Rubens, Goya, Dalí, Matisse, Renoir, Gauguin, Corot, Eakins, Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Picasso, and many others. Actively acquiring later 20th-century art, such as important works by Warhol, Pollock, and Christo. 
  7. 7
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    Contains over 65,000 pieces. A comprehensive museum with important collections of Early European paintings old masters, armor, art of ancient cultures, and American art. Highlights include murals painted especially for the museum by Diego Rivera, the Wedding Dance by Peter Bruegel the Elder, and Auguste Rodin's The Thinker. Frequently considered among the top five art museums in the nation.  
  8. 8
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    New York, NY - Considered one of the greatest collections of art from the Impressionist period forward including some of the most famous works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali, Matisse, Henri Rousseau, and Andrew Wyeth. Holdings include about 150,000 works plus "22,000 films and 4 million film stills."  
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