The top 5 must-see museums across the US (with cool museum shops!)

12 Apr , 2024

Museums are a wonderful way to introduce children to new cultures, spark their curiosity and encourage some outside-the-box thinking, all while learning about history, art and much more! From renowned artists' works to interactive exhibitions, the best museums offer a fascinating journey through time and space.
So let’s embark on a virtual tour of the top 5 must-see museums across the US, where you and your little explorer can venture into different worlds that span the past, present and future! 🚀
And while you're there, don't forget to pop by their gift shops, where you might just spot some Worldwide Buddies products, too! ;)

1. Asian Art Museum

📍200 Larkin St, San Francisco, California
Step into one of the world’s finest collections of Asian art located in the heart of San Francisco. As the country’s largest museum dedicated exclusively to Asian art, the Asian Art Museum houses over 18,000 artworks spanning cultures from Iran, India, China, Japan and the Philippines. Don’t miss the beautiful Japanese ink paintings, intricate Indian stone sculptures, and elegant Islamic calligraphy, offering rich art experiences for all ages.
Must-see attraction: Explore remarkable archaeological finds in the new Phoenix Kingdoms exhibition“Ever wonder why Chinese art brims with phoenixes, tigers and snake-like dragons? Where do the styles we think of today as distinctly Chinese come from? Phoenix Kingdoms fills that gap with some of the most historically important, as well as eye-catching, finds in recent memory—splendors that bring you face-to-face with the past” - Director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum, Jay Xu.

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Gift shop pick: Check out the popular and eye-catching FreshCut Paper bouquets – a memorable way to send flowers that last.
Worldwide Buddies pick: Spot our bestselling minilingo bilingual flashcards, available in multiple languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese and Japanese!  

2. Museum of International Folk Art

📍06 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Immerse yourself in vibrant cultural exhibitions at one of New Mexico’s most cherished attractions, the Museum of International Folk Art! Here, you and your little ones will embark on a journey through diverse cultures as you explore traditional Scandinavian art, collections of Japanese Yōkai masks and colorful displays of Mexican textiles.
Beyond the exhibits, the museum offers interactive experiences perfect for families, including in-gallery art-making activities, as well as the enchanting “Tree of Life” children’s play area, complete with unique toys and books from around the globe.

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Must-see attraction: Wander into the Girard Wing, an unorthodox exhibition that delights visitors with its inventive display, including objects arranged in vignettes and suspended from the ceiling. 
Gift shop pick: Find funky decorative pieces for your little’s playroom with the shop's selection of colorful masks
Worldwide Buddies pick: Get creative with our new Around the World Coloring Book, bursting with outside-the-box coloring prompts and stickers inspired by different cultures.

3. Milwaukee Public Museum

📍800 W Wells St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Officially opening its doors in 1883, the Milwaukee Public Museum holds millions of specimens and artifacts in its collections on human and natural history. “The museum's exhibits take you around the world to learn about different cultures and wildlife found in all corners of the planet—from the African Serengeti to the Arctic Circle,” said Madeline Anderson, MPM Director of Communications.

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Across three immersive floors, visitors are whisked away on a captivating journey through time and space, where there's something to pique everyone’s interest. Begin your adventure with a stroll down the Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit, where the turn of the 20th century comes to life through meticulously recreated shops and streetscapes. And don’t forget to visit the enchanting Puelicher Butterfly Wing, a sensory wonderland with lush tropical gardens filled with exotic butterflies.
Must-see attraction: Get transported back to over 65 million years ago, and see one of the world's largest-known dinosaur skulls!
Gift shop pick: If you’re looking to expand your little’s (or your own!) plushie collection, look no further than the beloved dodo bird plush toy, a one-of-a-kind, quirky addition.
Worldwide Buddies pick: Spark your child’s imagination with our What’s the Story? Storytelling Cards – a multicultural game of tale making and adventure.

4. North Carolina Museum of Art

📍2110 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh, North Carolina
Get ready to be inspired by one of the leading art museums in the South – the North Carolina Museum of Art. Ranked among the top 25 museums in the USA, the North Carolina Museum of Art features works that span 5,000 years, ranging from European to Egyptian and African art, including Greek sculptures, Renaissance paintings all topped by contemporary photographs by North Carolina artists.
It's also home to the nation's largest museum art park, sprawling across 164 acres of trails and monumental public art installations. One of its highlights is the Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky, an enchanting visual illusion. Using only sunlight, this mesmerizing installation allows visitors to virtually walk among the clouds and treetops.

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Must-see attraction: “The museum has many different ways to engage with art across campus. In our newest exhibition, To Take Shape and Meaning, you will not only see works of art from 75 different Native artists, you can discover the different 3D objects with close looking and artist video interviews, and also become part of the exhibition by designing your own car on our digital interactive kiosk."
Gift shop pick: Discover the most enchanting and innovative art book selection – the perfect way to brighten up your coffee table!
Worldwide Buddies pick: Pick up a copy of “The Book of Cultures” and introduce children to 30 countries around the world. Within these buddiful pages, you and your kiddo will set off on an adventure to new places, where you’ll meet whimsy characters and dive into interactive activities.

5. World Awareness Children's Museum

📍89 Warren St, Glens Falls, NY
With a mission very close to our hearts, the World Awareness Children's Museum is the perfect place for children and families to discover our diverse world. Inside, collections span 140 countries with over 8,000 fashion items, toys and musical instruments, along with 7,000 pieces of international children’s artwork! 
But the real magic lies in the interactive, hands-on exhibits where kids can design their own travel adventure. From farming, preparing and serving delicious foods of Mexico, to playing unique instruments like a balaphone and thumb piano or shopping at a Nigerian marketplace, there’s something for every little explorer.
Must-see attraction: Step into the serene ambiance of the Japanese Tea House, where children can immerse themselves in Japanese traditions. Here, littles can try on a kimono, participate in a tea ceremony and master the art of using chopsticks – an experience that promises to foster cultural appreciation in young hearts and minds, alike.
World Awareness Children's Museum
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Worldwide Buddies pick: Find our popular Around the World Activity Book among the shelves and delve into a exciting word searches, creative crafts, cheeky quizzes and more!

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